Saturday, December 6, 2014

Celtics 113 - Lakers 96: Zeller leads C's past LA

Photo: Mark L. Baer (USA TODAY)
Tyler Zeller scored a season high 24 points, and grabbed 14 rebounds in a blowout win against the Los Angeles Lakers last night at TD Garden.

The Celtics shot 51 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Lakers, 54-38. Rajon Rondo had another big night dishing out baskets, he had 16 assists.

In classic Rondo style, Rajon flirted with a triple-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 8 rebounds.

"The more I play with him, the easier it gets," Tyler Zeller said about Rondo. "Everybody knows he's a phenomenal passer. He's going to find the right guy, the open guy. Tonight, it was me."
Zeller, who has been in the starting lineup for four straight games in place of Kelly Olynyk, scored 14 points in the first half. Rondo assisted five out of his first seven field goals in the first half. By halftime, Rondo already had 8 assists. Zeller was 1 point shy of his career high.
"Rondo was just so much more aggressive," coach Brad Stevens said. "Any time that he's probing like that, Tyler's going to roll to the rim and be available."
Kobe Bryant scored 22 points for the Lakers and Nick Young contributed 16 off the bench. The Lakers dropped their second game in a row.

The Celtics took the lead away from the Lakers after the first two minutes and never gave it back. All five starters finished in double figures. Besides Rondo, everyone in the starting lineup scored at least 16 points or more.

Photo: Brian Babineau (Getty Images)
After a 10-3 Celtics run to start the second half, the Lakers responded by cutting Boston's lead to seven before the end of the third quarter. Jared Sullinger then chipped in seven points in the midst of a 9-0 Celtics run, giving the Celtics a 16-point advantage.

Bryant tried to get his team back in it. But the Celtics did a good job defending him. Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Evan Turner all took turns, and forced Kobe to take tough shots.

"We decided that we're going to keep rotating guys," Stevens said. "If I get a foul, somebody else is going to guard him. If you get a foul, somebody else is going to guard him. We're just going to keep rotating fresh bodies onto him."
Bryant's 22 points on 9-of-21 shots wasn't enough. His teammate Jeremy Lin helped cut the lead down to seven in the third quarter but when the Celtics stretched their advantage to 16, Lakers couldn't put together another big run. Celtics had a 22-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before both teams subbed out their starters.

The Celtics will try to win three straight tomorrow when they take on Paul Pierce and the Washington Wizards. If successful, it will be the first time this season that the Celtics have put together three consecutive wins.

Game Notes:

Tyler Zeller is averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds in the games he's started. Out of the last four games, the Celtics are 2-2.

Josue Pavon

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