Monday's Blowout of Lakers Reminds C’s How Good They Can Be
BOSTON – After trudging through its most challenging two-week stretch of the season, a reinvigorated Boston Celtics team came out Monday night and reminded the world exactly how good it can be. Boston, which had lost six of its previous eight games, welcomed the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers into its home alongside the Charles River and completely blew them out of the water, 139-107.
A win of such magnitude over their archrival was exactly what the Celtics needed in order to raise their spirits and re-instill their confidence following such a strenuous stretch of play.
“It was a reminder of how good we can really be and how good we really are and how we were playing earlier in the season,” said Kemba Walker, who logged 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds. “That's how we were playing. We had great energy, pressured the basketball, just having fun, playing with enthusiasm and passion. I think we got away from that a little bit.”
In order to find their way back, the Celtics had to address their issues head-on. They held an intense, 45-minute film session Sunday afternoon, which helped them to resolve some of their shortcomings over the previous two weeks.
“It was very important,” Enes Kanter, who tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, said of the film session. “We just watched, we learned from our mistakes, and I think we knew that this was going to be one of those games that we just went out there and did our job.”
The C’s did their job in virtually every aspect. Their ball movement was pristine, which allowed them to dish out 31 total assists. Their scoring was well balanced, with five players tallying at least 16 points, including three who notched at least 20. Their defense was resolute, as it limited the elite combo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James to just 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting. And they played an aggressive, up-tempo style for a full 48 minutes, which was not something they had done in quite some time.
“We were just pushing everything out,” said Jaylen Brown, who recorded 20 points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals and one posterizing dunk over King James. “I think that we’re a fast team. We’ve gotta take advantage of some of the things that we do best, so, making things tough, pushing guys out, making them stay farther from the rim is what we’ve gotta do to speed the game up and use our advantages. We did a good job of that tonight.”
Playing with such energy and passion is what this group expects out of itself night-in and night-out. The Celts had lost a little bit of that spark during their losing skid, but Monday night’s win felt to them like a turning point.
“This is what we should be on a nightly basis, and what we would like to be,” said Walker. “Hopefully the way we played tonight and this win will help us build in the future.”
In the future, this could be a win that the Celtics look back on for inspiration, as it serves as a reminder of what their potential could be.
“It was a great reminder,” said Brown. “We have to hold ourselves accountable to play with this type of energy and this type of effort every night. It just can’t be against the Lakers, we got to get up and play like that against Memphis in a few days. We’ve got to be able to be resilient, humble, poised, and continue to move forward.”