LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers finally laid a dud as they were embarrassed by the Boston Celtics, suffering their second loss in their past three games.
The Lakers actually went up by eight points in the first quarter but were then overwhelmed by a Celtics team that looked much more energetic and focused on both ends of the floor.
James did his best to keep Los Angeles within striking distance in the first half but eventually, he and the rest of the team folded in the third quarter when Boston blew the game open.
James identified what went wrong for the Lakers, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Points off turnovers and offensive rebounds. At one point, we were holding them to 41 percent from the field, but they had eight or nine offensive rebounds. When you have an offensive power like this going against them and you giving them second chances is not gonna work well in your favor.”
He also admitted the team was thoroughly outplayed in every way:
“Listen, it was just a good old-fashioned butt whooping, that’s all. They beat us at all facets of the game. From the outside, the interior, points off turnovers, and offensive rebounds was the main ingredients of this L.”
It was jarring to see Los Angeles struggle so much on offense and defense given how well they have been playing since the turn of the calendar, but it is a testament to Boston’s execution and commitment to their game plan. James and Anthony Davis were held to a combined 24 points — well below their season average of about 52 points per game — while no one else on the roster was able to step up and pick up some of the scoring burden.
The All-Star duo is the engine for this team, so any time they both struggle will almost always result in a loss. However, one of the more disappointing things about the game was the disparity in three-point shooting as Los Angeles allowed Boston to shoot 47 percent from beyond the arc, another key reason why the team was unable to mount a comeback.
Lakers fans will likely be more disappointed than usual given this was a game against a long-time rival in the Celtics, but it is still only one game in a long regular season. Their performance in Boston should serve as a useful lesson later on but for now, they must regroup before a back-to-back set against the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.