Celtics defeat Lakers 126-115 on Christmas Day thanks to well-balanced attack

Celtics defeat Lakers 126-115 on Christmas Day thanks to well-balanced attack


Despite a 40-point night from Anthony Davis, the Celtics defeated the Lakers 126-115 at the Crypo.com Arena on Christmas Day. The starting lineup scored 108 of the team’s 126 points; Kristaps Porzingis led the charge with 28 points on 11-19 shooting, while Jayson Tatum (25 points), Jaylen Brown (19 points), Derrick White (18 points), Jrue Holiday (18 points) each had solid nights of their own.

The Celtics jumped out to an 18-point first quarter lead, lost that lead in the second quarter, but ultimately regained control of the game in the second half and led by double digits for most of the fourth quarter.

Anthony Davis dominated offensively, finishing with 40 points on 15-26 FG, but his offensive explosion was not enough to overcome the Celtics’ well-balanced attack.

Jayson Tatum finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, and a season-high 7 assists. While he struggled with his shot (1-6 from three), Doc Rivers, one of the ESPN announcers on the broadcast, said his well-rounded performance reminded him of Magic Johnson.

When asked by ESPN’S Cassidy Hubbarth about Rivers’ comment after the game, he chuckled.

“I don’t know about Magic, but we have a dynamic team,” Tatum said. “It’s easy to play with these guys.”

Jrue Holiday and Derrick White had dominant two-way performances against the Lakers. Holiday shot 7-10 from the field, grabbed 7 boards, dished out 7 assists, and got a block and a steal. As has become customary, he also made several huge defensive plays that didn’t show up in the stat sheet.

White’s 18 points came on 8-13 shooting; he also finished with two blocks and two steals. Heading into tonight, White had four consecutive games with at least three blocks. That streak came to an end against the Lakers, but his defense remained stellar.

In the second quarter, Lebron James’s knee collided into Jaylen Brown’s back, leading the two to fall to the ground in pain. Brown missed the rest of the half, and was listed questionable to return with a lower back contusion, but re-entered the game to start the second half.

Brown was relatively quiet the rest of the game, but nonetheless finished with 19 points. Seven of those came in the opening minutes, when the Celtics jumped ahead to a 12-0 lead.

Payton Pritchard provided a spark off the bench in the second quarter, when he scored 10 consecutive points for the Celtics to keep them in it when the Lakers made their run.

Of note, Luke Kornet, who missed six straight games with an adductor strain, was available to play but did not see the court. Instead, Neemias Queta got seven minutes of run, at times looking a bit overwhelmed by Anthony Davis’s post presence. Sam Hauser played 14 minutes off the bench, but struggled from the field, finishing 0-4 from three.

Outside of Davis, the Lakers offense struggled. Lebron James finished with 16 points on 5-14 shooting, while Rui Hachimura finished with 12 points on 5-14 FG. Taurean Prince, a new addition to the starting lineup, scored 17 points (5-12 on three-pointers).

The win means the Celtics hold a league-best 23-6 record, and finish their California road trip 3-1. They won three straight (Kings, Clippers, Lakers) after falling to the Warriors in overtime to start the trip. Their next game is at home on Thursday at 7:30pm against the Detroit Pistons.


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