If Boston is the new measuring stick by which NBA teams are judged, the Lakers fell shorter than the short shorts they donned tonight. Boston—playing its fourth game in five nights—was the team with the fresh legs as the Lakers started the game sluggish and despite a surge to end the half, were manhandled by the Celtics, 110-91.
After the game, Jackson said that his team did not execute the plays learned in practice last week, relying too heavily on outside shooting and not enough on penetration. Jackson also singled out Kobe’s abysmal 6-25 shooting night as one of the key reasons the Lakers were not able to withstand the Celtic’s charge. Lamar Odom was almost as bad from the field, going six for 17 and missing more than a handful of layups in the first half as Boston built its lead.
Andrew Bynum was virtually non-existent for most of the game, fouling out after scoring eight points and grabbing only two rebounds. Jackson said that Bynum needs to learn how to find space around the basket better, as he was unable to combat Boston’s front line. As a team, the Lakers struggled from the field, shooting a measly 36% from the field and showing an inability to sustain any momentum.
Both teams were assessed a flurry of technical fouls, but it was the younger Lakers who were unable to maintain their composure in the second half, resulting in technicals on Kobe, Kwame, Lamar and Trevor as well as three Celtics. Jackson said that his team was obviously frustrated by a series of questionable calls in the second half and lost focus too easily.
After tonight’s win, the Celtics now stand at a league-leading 26-3 and have garnered the respect of Jackson. Boston came into STAPLES Center and blew out the Lakers after blowing them out in Boston earlier this season. Jackson said, “Of the team’s we’ve faced so far, they’ve shined.”