The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers snapped their six-game losing streak, as they came from behind to win 107-104 against the Celtics in Boston. Although the night was headlined as the return of Rajon Rondo and the suspension of Nick Young, the game came down to two rookies: Ryan Kelly and Kelly Olynyk.
Kelly finished with 20 points in 34 minutes--both career highs. He also had four rebounds, including one especially crucial rebound that gave the Lakers the ball with 25 seconds to play.
“We really want to win,” Kelly said after the game. “That sounds cheesy, but we needed it.”
Even with Nick Young suspended for an altercation and new signing Manny Harris walking off the plane and onto the basketball court, the Lakers muscled their way for their 15th win of the season. Getting 15 wins after 40 games is not usually cause for celebration, but beating the Boston Celtics always means a little bit more to the hungry and disappointed fan base.
Olynyk, the Celtics’ rookie, also set his own career high with 25 points. He also had seven assists and five rebounds.
Apart from the two rookies, the Lakers were aided by another exceptional performance from Pau Gasol. The Spaniard finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Although Kendall Marshall’s 19 points and 14 assists deserve to be applauded, his seven turnovers were far too high for a point guard. Still, a late 3-pointer by the 22-year-old point guard gave the Lakers the lead, and they never looked back.
As a team, the Lakers turned the ball over 20 times at TD Garden, but somehow, they still walked away victorious. Whether that points to the Lakers' will to win or the Celtics' own shortcomings is debatable.
Still, for the final 3:12 of the game, the Lakers held the Celtics scoreless at home. The Lakers were down eight points before going on to finish the game on an 11-0 run. They played hard on defense and they executed on offense. During the crucial stretch, D’Antoni left Kelly in the game.
Along with the rookie, the Lakers went with Gasol, Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks and Marshall. Considering how that unit started the second half and finished the game, don’t be surprised if Kelly finds his way into the starting lineup on Sunday.
For one night, even the fans who want the Lakers to tank the season were begging for a win. It may cost the Lakers a couple ping pong balls, but a win over the Celtics is always a good way to start a Friday night.
“Manny Harris came in and he’s undefeated.” – Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni after the game.