Celtics Take Down Rival Lakers, Earn 10th Straight Win
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) – Aron Baynes matched his career high with 21 points, Kyrie Irving scored 19 and the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers 107-96 on Wednesday night for their 10th straight victory.
Baynes also had eight rebounds and three assists, and Boston improved to 10-2 even as Al Horford sat out after being placed in concussion protocol earlier in the day. The Celtics also lost rookie forward Jayson Tatum late in the second quarter, when he went to the locker room with a sore right ankle.
Boston led by 20 in the second quarter before letting the lead shrink to two in the third. Los Angeles then struggled down the stretch, shooting 5 of 18 from the field with six turnovers in the final period.
Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 18 points apiece. Julius Randle had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Celtics fans gave rookie Lonzo Ball an icy welcome in his first trip to TD Garden. They booed the No. 2 overall pick throughout the night whenever he touched the ball. He finished with nine points, six assists and five rebounds, making just 4 of 15 from the field.
With Tatum sidelined in the second half, Boston struggled defensively, and the Lakers exploited the paint for several easy baskets.
Irving also got banged up and had his right leg examined by trainers between the third and fourth quarters. He came back with just over six minutes to play and immediately made an impact, scoring back-to-back baskets to push Boston’s lead back to 100-90.
The Celtics led by 48-28 in the second quarter but were outscored 24-13 over the final 6:51 of the half to let the Lakers back into the game.
Lakers: Lone lead of the game was 2-0. … Had 12 turnovers in the first half.
Celtics: Shot just 8 of 24 in the fourth quarter. … The 61 points scored by the first half was a season high. … Took a season-high 98 field-goal attempts.
The Celtics and Lakers are far removed from the peak of their rivalry in the 1980s, but there are still plenty of reminders of that heyday. Bill Walton’s son, Luke, is coaching the Lakers, and Danny Ainge and Magic Johnson both work in front office positions for Boston and Los Angeles, respectively. Luke Walton said this new generation of players view the rivalry through different lenses.
“I think some of them get it, more than others,” he said. “Guys like Lonzo that grew up in LA, I think if you grew up in either one of these cities, you’re probably pretty well schooled on the rivalry. For some of these young guys, they probably don’t know much about it.”
Celtics fans chanted “Beat LA!” after Walton was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter.
The Celtics showed a video montage of former captain Paul Pierce during a timeout in the first quarter. Pierce, who was at the Garden on Wednesday as a member of ESPN’s broadcast crew, saluted fans as they gave him a standing ovation. The Celtics will retire his No. 34 in February.
New Red Sox manager Alex Cora, New England Patriots players Devin McCourty and Dion Lewis, and rapper DMX were in attendance.
Lakers: At Washington on Thursday night.
Celtics: Host Charlotte on Friday night.
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