Beat LA: Celtics destroy Lakers, 113-96

It wasn't your dad's Celtics-Lakers match-up (Nor was it even your slightly older brother's), but it's still Celtics-Lakers, and the Celtics recognized that, playing one of their best games of the season on Friday night at the Garden.

The Cs won, 113-96, behind Tyler Zeller, who put up a career high 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Rajon Rondo (12 points, 16 assists, 8 rebounds, and a ridiculous +40 +/-), Jared Sullinger (17 points, 13 boards), and Jeff Green (19 points). The Celtics shot 51% from the floor, and 41% from three, the third straight game they shot over 40% from deep. The Lakers were "led" by Kobe, who had 22 points on 21 shots, as he continues to put up hollow scoring efforts as he marches towards Michael Jordan on the career scoring list.

The story of the first half was Zeller. The Celtics starting center poured in 14 points (on 7-8 shooting) and grabbed nine rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Rondo, fresh off the breakfast heard round the world, chipped in eight points and eight boards in the first half himself, leading the way as the offense destroyed the Lakers early on.

The Cs sprinted to a 25-9 start before LA started cutting into the lead slowly but surely, eventually cutting the deficit down to five on a Jeremy Lin buzzer beating lay-up to end the second quarter.

Just like in the first half, the Celtics came out red hot in the second half, scoring 33 points in the third quarter. 20 of the 33 came from Jeff Green (11) and Jared Sullener (9), as the Celts opened up an 86-70 lead after 36 minutes.

Now I know what you're thinking: 16-point lead after three..big deal. They'll blow it. They always blow it. Well, this time they didn't.

LA did get within nine early in the fourth, but the Celtics answered. An 11-0 run put the Celtics up 103-83 with 5:24 left, and from there on out it was a mere formality.

Obviously this does not mean the Celtics' fourth quarter futility is behind them. Not by a long shot. But for one night, they actually closed a team out (a bad team yes, but still, a real live NBA team) without blowing their massive lead. It's only one step, but it's a step nonetheless, and in the process the Celtics won consecutive games for only the second time all season.

The Celts are now 6-11, they host Paul Pierce and the Wizards Sunday afternoon at the Garden.

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