The Celtics Put It On The Lake Show

A 32-point beatdown.

Jim Rome
January 21, 2020 - 9:31 am
Jayson Tatum

USA Today

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I’m not sure what was bizarre in last night’s Lakers-Celtics game: the Celtics rocking the  green at home and the Lakers wearing gold in Boston, Kemba Walker having a 28-game losing streak to LeBron James, or the Celtics destroying the Lakers 139-107.

I’m not going to get all “get off my lawn” with the jersey thing and “back in my day the Lakers wore purple in Boston” with it, but every so often it is really weird to see traditional rivals wearing the reverse of their jerseys. 

But not as weird as seeing this Lakers team get run out of the gym on the road the way that they just were. Especially against a team that had lost three straight and six of eight. That 32-point win was the largest regular season win by either team in this rivalry in more than 50 years. In other words, that sort of hospital job just doesn’t happen. On either side. 

If you didn’t watch the game, and you see a final like 139-107, you’d just assume the Lakers just never bothered to even get off the bus. And you’d be wrong. Because they led 8-0.  They jumped on them early.  Only to get outscored by 40 the rest of the way.

In other words, they got off that bus, hit a few shots, thought, ‘we’re good’, and then turned around and got right back on the bus. Problem is, they were anything but good.  And the Celtics picked a great time to remember they were the Celtics. 

Speaking of Kemba Walker…he said: “It was a reminder of how good we can really be and how good we really are and how we were playing earlier in the season. That's how we were playing. We had great energy, pressured the basketball, just having fun, playing with enthusiasm and passion. I think we got away from that a little bit.”

And he finally broke his maiden against LeBron. As everyone kept repeating before the game, he went into last night with an 0-28 record against LeBron. Truly, that is among the truly stupid stats I’ve ever seen in my life. Not because of the number per se, but because of the notion that Kemba was 0-28 vs. LeBron. He wasn’t. His TEAMS were 0-28 against LeBron’s teams. And for the most part, Kemba’s teams just weren’t that good.  So that’s not on Kemba. He’s not playing one on one here. But in many cases, during that streak, he may as well have been playing 1 on five. 

But I’ll give you this, it’s still pretty bizarre that any player in the NBA could go 0-28 against any other player. Pretty bizarre that he didn’t somehow stumble into a win at some point. And he hadn’t. Until he and they did, last night.

The Celtics had looked like garbage of late. But the team everyone had been waiting on, finally showed up last night. And they were hitting pretty much everything, the Lakers couldn’t make a shot. And they were getting murdered on the glass. And wrecked in transition. The Celtics, meanwhile moved the rock, played with pace and have five players finish with 16 or more points. And destroyed L.A. In the process. . 

And because it’s the LeBron and the Lakers losing to a Celtics team that was struggling, people are going to freak out and say that they’re overrated. Pump the brakes on that just a little bit. It was a blowout, but it’s just one game. And they’ve got the ultimate get-right team in the Knicks next. There is no need to panic or grip about the Lakers just yet. 

As LeBron said after the game: "I mean, listen, it was just a good, old-fashioned butt whooping. That's all. They beat us in all facets of the game: outside, interior, points off turnovers, offensive rebounds. So it's the main ingredients in the L."

Those are all the main ingredients and a few extra toppings as well. Like Jayson Tatum going for 27 points, 5 rebounds, and three assists. Like Jaylen Brown going for point and 6 assists. And like Jaylen Brown dropping this dunk on LeBron’s head. 

And of course everyone on Twitter freaked out about that. 

And as always, my policy on guys getting dunked on – it will happen. If you try to play defense in the NBA, you will get dunked on. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And if you aren’t getting dunked on, that means you’re ducking out and trying to avoid being caught on Twitter. And that’s even worse.

Better to get dunked on and try, than to take the coward’s way out and avoid being Twitterized. And, no, that dunk doesn’t mean that LeBron is washed. 

But that doesn’t take anything away from Brown and what he did. That was a huge moment. 

And he was feeling pretty good about it after the game. 

He tried to be mellow and calm about it, but then he let it out and admitted that it was pretty special.

Give the Celtics some bleeping credit. They still aren’t a team with a ton of size, but they showed up big yesterday.

Here are a few other ingredients for a Lakers L – Anthony Davis getting in foul trouble in his return from injury and never getting into a rhythm. And JaVale McGee being the leading scorer. Don’t get me wrong – I like McGee and his game, but if he’s the leading scorer for a night on this Lakers team, something has either gone so right or so wrong. And last night, it was soooooooo wrong. 

And no, before anyone tries to get in on this, last night’s loss had nothing to do with LeBron taking a helicopter to Springfield, Massachusetts before the game to watch his son play. And even if it did, even if that loss was entirely due to the fact that LeBron went to watch his son play, I’m fine with that. I dig it. Getting a chance to watch your son play in a situation like that is cool, and way more important than a regular season NBA game in January. 

Just like it might be the start of something for the Celtics, it’s not the end of something for the Lakers. They didn’t get exposed as frauds yesterday. The only people getting exposed because of that loss are the dopes who said the Lakers got exposed.