Lakers upset Celtics behind 32 points from Reaves

Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers shocked the Celtics in Boston thanks to a monster game from Austin Reaves.


No LeBron James. No Anthony Davis. And in the second half, no Jarred Vanderbilt. And yet here were the Lakers, playing like there is no tomorrow. Then they beat the Boston Celtics, 114-105.

So the team from L.A. came out with the most energy we’ve seen in a while. They were forcing all the turnovers, taking the rock away like thieves in the night. But at times in the first quarter, both teams were playing like they were fourth graders in recess. Still, the Celtics finished the period with 8 straight points, including a couple of three-pointers from Sam Hauser.

Near the end of the second quarter, the Lakers made five straight three-pointers to push the lead to double digits. The Lakers took a surprising 60-46 lead at the halftime. However, they did lose Jarred Vanderbilt due to a foot injury.

In the third quarter, the Celtics attempted to make a push in the third period. Hauser, Jayson Tatum, Payton Pritchard, and Al Horford all made threes as they tried to put pressure on the Lakers. But Austin Reaves made a tough long three to help counter while Max Christie drove in for a lay-up before the third quarter expired. The Lakers withstood the Celtics storm and continued to lead in double digits, 88-78, going into the fourth.

Derrick White, Kristaps Porzingis, and Jrue Holiday did their best to try to get the Celtics back into the game. But once again, timely three-pointers by Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell (who had been shooting badly) kept Boston at bay. The Lakers get their biggest win of the season. And they were shorthanded.

Isn’t this frustrating? More on that in a bit but…

…the Lakers were shooting the lights out. Yes, they are capable of it. But the Lakers are not known for this three-point shooting. D’Angelo Russell did a great job distributing the ball. The ball movement was just so good against the Celtics. And their defensive intensity was off the charts for L.A.

You can look at the stats and just look at the three-point shooting as the reason the Lakers won. But they really outworked the Celtics. Even when Vanderbilt went down, Jaxson Hayes, Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince, and Christian Wood brought some energy.

Like I said, it’s frustrating. We know that the Lakers can do this game in and game out and for some reason, they come out flat a lot of the time. Why can’t they bring this kind of pep in their step on work nights? Maybe they felt they had to play like this because they didn’t have their stars. Then why can’t they play like this when they have their stars with them?

And Austin Reaves did set the tone with his shooting and aggressiveness. He scored over 30 for the third time in his career (32 points). And the Lakers were hellish defensively; they had 11 steals (Celtics had 15 overall turnovers) while the Lakers only turned the ball over 7 times themselves.

Jaxson Hayes went for 16 points and 10 rebounds. D’Angelo Russell had 16 points and a season-high 14 assists. Rui Hachimura scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. And I mentioned the three-point shooting? 19 out of 36 (.528) from three. Incredible.

The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum with 23 but it felt like he made little impact in the game. Kristaps Porzingis and Sam Hauser each had 17 while Jaylen Brown was held to 8 points. Again, the Lakers defensively were just great. They scrapped, scratched, punched, kicked, pinched, and bit the Celtics. And they got their revenge from that Christmas game and gave the L back to Boston.

Now can they keep this momentum for real? I’m skeptical. But we’re all hopeful that they can. There is plenty of time left in the season, after all.