The muscle in the third, by the end

The Los Angeles Lakers narrowly defeated the Boston Celtics in a heart-pounding contest 108-107 on Tuesday, January 23rd at Staples Center. Kyle Kuzma finally had the monster game he was due for, tallying up 28 points in 26 minutes, with 17 of those points coming in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 33 points and had help from Marcus Smart’s 22 points, but Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum never got it going. The Lakers attempted to dictate the pace at the beginning by pushing the ball up the court, but they weren’t under control and couldn’t hit their shots. Both teams came out slow offensively in the first quarter, but the Celtics jumped ahead 21-15 after the first. The Celtics bigs did a good job at protecting the rim against the driving Lakers, racking up a few blocks.The Celtics started sinking shots in the second quarter. By the end of the half, Kyrie had 13 points shooting 4/10 from the field while Marcus Smart pitched in 15 on 5/8 shooting. Kyrie utilized his quickness and screens from fellow teammates along the perimeter to get his buckets. Jordan Clarkson and Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers attack after the first half with 14 points and 11 points respectively. Things started heating up as both teams started trading shots in the third quarter. We saw Brook Lopez get more involved offensively and Kyrie Irving got some easy buckets off his advantageous matchup with Tyler Ennis and also off lapses in the Lakers defense. Julius Randle started manhandling Al Horford down low, getting some authoritative 1 on 1 buckets against the newly appointed All-Star. Julius was really showing his muscle in the third, by the end he had 12 points with 14 rebounds.The fourth quarter started and all of the sudden it was Showtime. Kuzma started dropping bomb after bomb from deep causing the Staples Center audience to erupt! Lakers fans, desperate for a new messiah, couldn’t help but think of Kobe seeing Kuzma pull up and drain clutch shots with the confidence of a superstar. Among his fourth quarter highlights was a flashy behind the back assist in transition to Larry Nance Jr., causing Boston to take a timeout and regroup.The game almost slipped away from the Lakers as it came down to a foul and free throw contest. The Celtics exposed The Lakeshow as the League-worst free throw shooting team as they got quick buckets and continued to foul the Lakers to get the ball back. Boston had the last possession when they were only down 1 point after some Laker missed free throws, and Marcus Smart decided to throw up a long ball instead of dishing it to a wide-open and heating-up Terry Rozier. The Lakers walked away with the W and have now won 7 of their last 9, while the Celtics remain in a funk and on a season-first 4 game losing streak. The Lakers are really finding their stride now despite Lonzo being out. Management will probably keep Lonzo out for their upcoming 5 game road trip since the team is able to hold their own. In this last 9 game stretch, the surging Lakers have wins over playoff teams such as the Spurs, Pacers, and now the No. 1 in the East Celtics. It’s funny how they come out to play for the really good teams but can fall to a team full of chumps just as easily. The Celtics are really wishing they beat the Lakers tonight because now they have to face the Clippers on Wednesday night who will pose more of a challenge. The Lakers will get plenty of rest as they begin their 5 game road trip against the Chicago Bulls on Friday, January 26th at 5:00 PM PST. 


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