Friday, February 2, 2024

Lakers 114, Celtics 105: Austin Reaves drops 32 to lead short-handed L.A. to victory

The Celtics were stunned by the Los Angeles Lakers, in a 114-105 loss Thursday night at TD Garden.

Boston struggled from the field on 42.3% shooting, despite their rivals not having LeBron James or Anthony Davis in the lineup.

Jayson Tatum had 23 points on 8-of-21 from the field but did knock down 5-of-10 from behind the arc to go along with seven rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis added 17 points, seven rebounds, and Sam Hauser also netted 17 points off the bench -- connecting on 5-of-9 from deep.

In a highly anticipated re-match of these two teams that last played on Christmas Day, with the C's beating L.A. 126-115, James was ruled out with an ankle injury, and Davis was sidelined with hip spasms -- making it the first time both All-Stars sat out the same game this season.

Austin Reaves led all scorers with 32 points on 7-of-10 from 3-point range, while D'Angelo Russell notched 16 points, 14 assists and Jackson Hayes also recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds for the Lakers -- who improved to 25-25 while handing Boston their third loss at home over the last five outings after beginning the 2023-24 campaign 20-0.
"It just happens. Stretches of bad basketball happen," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. "We can't sit here and act like we're too entitled for it to happen to us. It happens. And it's a matter of how we respond to it and how we work through it."
Boston played from behind for much of the night, as they trailed 60-46 at the break after dropping a season-high 81 points in the first half of Tuesday's win over the Pacers.

The Celtics used a 12-2 run in the third quarter, that included four straight made 3-pointers to cut their deficit to six (77-71), but that was the closest they'd get the rest of the way.

The Lakers took an 88-78 advantage into the final frame and didn't let Boston get within less than seven -- dropping them to a 37-12 record.

Los Angeles, not known for their 3-point shooting, connected on 19-of-36 from behind the arc and forced 15 C's turnovers.

The Celtics are 2-2 so far on their seven-game homestand and are off until Sunday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies (18-30).

Game Notes:

Boston was 16-of-48 (33.3%) from long distance and only went to the free throw line 7-of-7 times, compared to the Lakers shooting 40.4% from the floor and going 19-of-26 from the charity stripe. The Celtics out-rebounded Los Angeles 54-52 and outscored them in the paint 38-32. Both teams dished out 30 assists respectively.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Herald

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