The Celtics picked an excellent time to put together their most impressive performance of the season thus far. They had lost six of their last eight, with four of those six losses coming against teams with losing records. After going 25-8 over two and a half months, one of the most exciting teams in basketball nearly doubled their loss total in less than two weeks. On the other hand, the Lakers came into Monday night as winners of 10 of their last 11. Anthony Davis, who was absent for the last four wins of that streak, was set to make his return.
It was the perfect “trap game” for Los Angeles, and they fell right into it. The second best team in the NBA, riding a hot streak, goes on the road to face a talented squad in the midst of some mid-season turbulence. Take them lightly and they could run you out of the building.
So that’s what the C’s did, manhandling LeBron and company by a score of 139-107. A 32-point thrashing of a legitimate NBA Finals candidate to bring their worst stretch of the season to a screeching halt and restore faith in their ability to make a deep playoff run this spring. The passion and the fight that had been lacking since the turn of the new year was on full display.
Boston had five players in double figures. Enes Kanter had 18 points and 11 boards, Jaylen Brown joined Jayson Tatum in the “I Dunked On LeBron” club, Marcus Smart made an incredible behind-the-back assist with his left hand, and the Garden crowd had themselves a night.
Here are the full highlights:
Another look at Jaylen’s dunk on LeBron:
Smart’s pass to Kanter:
Another great finish by Jaylen:
It was the first win for Kemba Walker against a LeBron James team, breaking an 0-for-28 streak to start his career.
The Celtics will look to carry their momentum into Wednesday night when they’ll be back at the Garden to take on the Grizzlies.