It wasn't all pretty, but the Celtics managed to beat the 5-6 Los Angeles Lakers 107-96 at TD Garden on Wednesday night. Aron Baynes led all scorers with an impressive 21-point effort in 23 minutes, while Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris chipped in 19 and 18 points, respectively.
Boston's offense came out firing right out of the gate, outscoring a disoriented Lakers defense 33-16 in the first quarter. Irving led the charge with some of his usual trickery.
A high-scoring second quarter made the game far more competitive, as the Lakers eventually closed the gap to six. Despite LA's offensive surge, Marcus Smart made a statement with an emphatic swat of a shot attempt by the relentlessly hyped Lonzo Ball.
Los Angeles stayed hot going into the third quarter, reducing the gap to two points six minutes into the half. But Boston remained on top, overpowering the young Lakers with a couple of violent slams by Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis.
The Celtics were finally able to re-establish a defensive tone in the final quarter, holding Los Angeles to just 15 points. Kyrie Irving highlighted Boston's sufficient fourth-quarter offensive effort with this tough make over rookie Kyle Kuzma.
Rookie Jayson Tatum headed to the locker room in the second quarter with a sore right ankle. The Celtics announced he is currently in a walking boot and will undergo further tests on Thursday.
Al Horford missed the game and is currently under the NBA's concussion protocol after getting whacked in the head by Kent Bazemore during Monday's win in Atlanta, and the Celtics' offense faltered at times without him. It is yet to be known when Horford could make his return.
It is really scary that Al Horford didn't develop concussion symptoms until today after the hit he took happened on Monday. Hopefully there isn't anything underlying happening and he makes a full recovery like last year.