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2/1 Game Preview: Lakers at Celtics

Provided by Field Level Media

The Los Angeles Lakers will be looking for an improved defensive effort when they visit the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

The Lakers have allowed at least 127 points in each of their past five games, three of which were losses. Los Angeles, which is giving up an average of 117.6 points per contest this season, surrendered at least 30 points in each quarter of Tuesday's 138-122 loss to Atlanta, giving up 36 points in both the first and third quarters.

"We've got to figure out how to give more resistance defensively," Lakers coach Darvin Ham told reporters after the game. "Looking at it with clear eyes on how we can turn this thing around and not make those same mistakes that eventually hurt us, those self-inflicted wounds."

The Lakers were without center Anthony Davis (hip/Achilles) in the loss at Atlanta, which came one night after Los Angeles allowed 42 points in the first quarter of a 135-119 loss at Houston. The Rockets scored 78 points in the first half of that game.

Los Angeles star LeBron James said the Lakers need better communication on the defensive end.

"In order to communicate, you got to know what we're doing out on the floor, first of all," James said "And when you make adjustments throughout a game, you got to know when the adjustments are made so everybody is on the same page. Everybody needs to be in tune with what we're doing so there's no mishaps. And sometimes there will be mishaps, you have to cover for one another."

The Celtics are averaging 120.4 points per game, which ranked fifth in the NBA entering play Wednesday. Boston scored 81 points in the first half of its 129-124 victory over Indiana on Tuesday. It was the most points Boston has scored in a half this season.

The Celtics surrendered the lead in the third quarter but limited the Pacers to 21 points in the fourth.

Kristaps Porzingis returned to action after missing two games with an ankle sprain and finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. All five Boston starters scored at least 17 points.

"I think we're just a different animal when we're clicking like that," Porzingis said. "Sometimes we almost overshare the ball a little bit, but I think it's a good thing. Once we start swinging that ball and getting from a good look to a great look, I think we can just pick teams apart and that's what we did in the first half. We have to try to do that for 48 (minutes).

"The ankle feels all right," Porzingis continued. "It's not back to 100 percent, but a rolled ankle is something you need to play through and, of course, I want to be out there every game, but especially at home. It stings every time I have to wear a suit or street clothes."

Boston posted a 126-115 road victory in the only meeting between the teams this season. Porzingis led the Celtics with 28 points in the Dec. 25 win. Davis scored a game-high 40 points for the Lakers.

--Field Level Media