In what was supposed to be a marquee matchup of two of the NBA’s best teams, the Los Angeles Lakers were embarrassed by their rivals, the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers were blown out 139-107, playing their worst game of the 2019-20 NBA season. LeBron James recorded a double-double (15 points and 13 assists) while JaVale McGee led the team in scoring with 18 points to go along with three blocks.
Anthony Davis returned to the starting lineup after missing the past five games but was largely ineffective as he only managed to score nine points and grab four rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
Head coach Frank Vogel reflected on Boston’s ability to keep the pressure on Los Angeles, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Credit the Celtics. We’ve been remarkably consistent throughout the year. Even when we haven’t played well, we found a way to stay in games and make it a game late and compete … They were the aggressors early in the game and throughout the game and we just didn’t have it tonight.”
Vogel also discussed his displeasure with the team’s rebounding effort:
“That’s one of the most disappointing things for me because I feel like that’s a controllable thing. Boxing out and hitting people… we didn’t really do it at all in the first half, so was very disappointed in that and really from the total performance.”
Despite taking the early lead in the first quarter, the Lakers had no answers for the Celtics on either end as they allowed several open looks, particularly from beyond the arc and found no space to operate in the halfcourt. Los Angeles also was simply outworked on the boards as they allowed Boston to pull down 48 rebounds while only managing 36 of their own.
The strength of the Lakers roster is their size, but Davis, McGee, and Dwight Howard all struggled to box out and take advantage of their physicality and length on the defensive end. Meanwhile, the Celtics — especially Enes Kanter — were able to earn several second-chance opportunities and prevented the Lakers from ever truly making one of their signature mid-game runs.
While it is only one game, this kind of loss will likely stick in the minds of the team and the fans for a while given how poor Los Angeles overall performance was.
All things considered, the Lakers still have the best record in the Western Conference and get a good chance to bounce back when they play the New York Knicks.