Ford Keys to the Game: Lakers 113, Celtics 99
Los Angeles enjoyed a comfortable nine-point lead over Boston at halftime of Wednesday night’s game at the Staples Center. It had a very comfortable lead just a few minutes into the third quarter.
It took only four minutes and 39 seconds of the third period for the Lakers to turn this one into a blowout. They added 10 points to their lead over that time frame as they displayed the type of unselfish basketball that Boston has become known for over the last two weeks.
Four of Los Angeles’ first six baskets of the second half were assisted, as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash each accounted for two of those helpers. The success was a result of the pick-and-roll, which L.A. continued to run over and over with Dwight Howard setting monster screens. The Celtics had no answers, which led to plenty of easy buckets for the Lakers.
Boston hangs its hat on defense but that defense was nonexistent Wednesday night. The C’s hung around in the first half thanks to some solid offense of their own, but they didn’t have enough to make it a game after Los Angeles pulled ahead by 19 in the third frame. Boston never cut the lead down to less than 13 points after they let the Lakers pull away at the beginning of the second half.
Key Box Score Line
The real Dwight Howard did stand up on Wednesday night. This was not the same player who sulked his way to nine points and nine rebounds on Feb. 7 in TD Garden. No, this Howard was different. Different because he was a difference maker.
Howard finished the game with 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds. That point total is six notches higher than the number of points and rebounds he combined for on Feb. 7. Howard made 10 of his 13 field goal attempts, finished with the game’s best plus/minus rating (plus-22) and chipped in an assist and a blocked shot.
The statistics for Howard were great but the body language and intensity were even greater. He was plugged into this game from start to finish. He was setting screens as if he relished the contact, not as if he was scared of it. Howard was fantastic and is the main reason why Los Angeles ran away with this win.
Box Score Nuggets
- All five of Los Angeles' starters scored at least 12 points.
- The Celtics allowed an opposing player, this time Earl Clark, to grab 16 rebounds for the second consecutive night.
- Paul Pierce scored a game-high 26 points, 23 of which came in the first half.
- Boston's leading rebounder was Jeff Green, who grabbed seven boards.
- Green was the only Celtics player who grabbed more than four rebounds in the game.
- Courtney Lee scored a season-high 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting.
- Despite logging a big double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds, Earl Clark finished with a plus/minus rating of zero.
- In his first game with the Celtics, Terrence Williams scored two points, grabbed two rebounds and dished out two assists.
- Each team scored 28 points in the second quarter and 23 points in the fourth quarter.
- The Lakers scored 54 points in the paint compared to Boston's 30.
- Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash tied for the game high in assists with seven apiece.
Quote of the Night
In this little run (of strong play), that was our worst game as far as energy and just effort. We just didn't have it tonight.
Doc Rivers on his the Celtics' lack of energy Wednesday night