2 takeaways from Lakers big win over Celtics
Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics 114-105 Thursday night in Boston’s third home loss of the year in 25 games.
Coming into the game, the Lakers’ prospects of a victory were seemingly narrow, given the absence of superstar duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The LakeShow embraced the “next-man-up” mentality, as bench guys and rotational players stepped up big time in this one, with six guys scoring in double digits.
Let’s take a look at our two key takeaways from this game that will likely serve as a turning point for the Purple and Gold this season.
Austin Reaves outscored Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown COMBINED last night.— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) February 2, 2024
And y’all really said trade this man 😂 pic.twitter.com/OjXNt3UfXS
Austin Reaves Legacy Game
Austin Reaves was firing on all cylinders last night, scoring 32 points on 10-18 from the field.
He most notably was unconscious from the three-point line, shooting 7-10 in that category, and recorded zero turnovers in nearly 35 minutes.
The most impressive part of Reaves’ night was his defense, as he let up a second-best 94.4 defensive rating, just behind defensive lockdown Jarred Vanderbilt.
Holding all-star Jaylen Brown to a mere eight points in this one, Reaves proved that he is once again capable of being a true superstar on the biggest stages.
Reaves has seen his struggles this season, averaging 15.5 points on 48.8% from the field and 35.9% from beyond the arc. He also averages just over two turnovers per game in 30.7 minutes.
Austin Reaves just crossed the life out of Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis 💀💀 AR is tearing up the Celtics defense— LakeShow Highlights (@LSH_lakeshow) February 2, 2024
D'Lo should have shot that I know he would have made it pic.twitter.com/d3nRmfGjrI
His shooting efficiency has been slightly worse on the road as well, at only 46.7% from the field and 34.6% from three, all the more reason to be excited about this performance.
Without LeBron and Anthony Davis, AR-15 was the primary scorer, putting up 18 shots compared to his 11.6 season average.
If Reaves can find a way to keep his rhythm in games where he is less relied upon to score every possession and continue to play strong perimeter defense, the Lakers can continue to build consistency on both ends.
Celtics 3-Point Struggles
The Lakers limited what the Celtics do best, shooting the three-pointer. Boston shot an ugly 33.3% on the night, substantially lower than their home average of 38%. Additionally, the Lakers matched the Celtics’ intensity on the boards, losing the rebounding battle by two to the league’s best team in that category.
Jaxson Hayes is culpable for the Celtic’s ugly night here, as he filled in for Anthony Davis well, chipping in 16 points along with 11 boards.
He additionally held opposing center Kristaps Porzingis to 1-7 from the three-point line, an impressive effort for the young big man.
We’ll see how LA utilizes him in the future once Davis is back, but the Lakers’ defense holding Boston to 105 points at home speaks for itself.
The Lakers will look to build on their newfound momentum tomorrow night as they face a well-oiled New York Knicks team in Madison Square Garden.