Celtics roll past Lakers for 10th straight win

AFP
But the banged-up Celtics are the hottest team in the NBA for a reason. They are getting contributions from everyone with different players stepping up each game.
AFP
AFP

Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket during the fourth quarter of their NBA match against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 8, 2017. The Celtics won 107-96.

The injury-riddled Boston Celtics won their 10th straight game by cruising to a 107-96 win on Wednesday over the Los Angeles Lakers in a matchup between two of the National Basketball Association's most storied franchises.

Australia's Aron Baynes scored a career-high 21 points during the game which saw the Celtics compile a 21-point first-half lead before the Lakers closed the gap in the third.

But Los Angeles allowed the Celtics to pull away again in the fourth when it mattered the most.

The 30-year-old Baynes, who was born in New Zealand but grew up in Cairns, Australia, also grabbed 8 rebounds and had 3 assists in front of a crowd of 18,600 at TD Garden.

"We have such great creators on this team," said Baynes, a member of the Australian national team. "I just found myself in the right position. I was just trying to make the right play, and I'm trying to finish as best I could.

"It's a compliment to the other guys on the team getting me the ball in great position."

Boston's Kyrie Irving overcame a poor shooting night to finish with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

But the banged-up Celtics are the hottest team in the NBA for a reason. They are getting contributions from everyone with different players stepping up each game. On Wednesday it was Baynes' turn along with Marcus Morris, who had 18 points, and Terry Rozier who added 14 points and 8 rebounds. 

"Until we have only four (players) left, I guess we're just going to keep playing," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "And then I don't know what you do at four, but keep playing. 

"Most importantly, and I don't want to make light, the most important (thing) is those guys get back healthy."

Brandon Ingram scored 18 points for the Lakers, who were guilty of 21 turnovers.

Wednesday also marked the first pro meeting between Celtics rookie and third overall pick Jayson Tatum and Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. But the matchup was shortened after Tatum had to leave the game because of an ankle problem.

The Celtics effectively passed over Ball at the draft by trading down from the No. 1 pick to get Tatum at No. 3. The Celtics knew Tatum was going to be available in that position because the Lakers planned to take Ball at No. 2.

Tatum finished with 5 points and had 1 rebound and 1 assist in 9 minutes during the first half. He didn't return for the second half.

The 19-year old Tatum had been given a more prominent role because of an opening-night injury to Gordon Hayward. He has responded by averaging 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in his first 11 games.

The Celtics, who are already without Hayward for the season, were also missing Al Horford on Wednesday. He is out with a possible concussion.

Jeered every time

Point guard Ball was loudly booed during the pre-game introductions and jeered every time he touched the ball. Celtics fans are still upset at his father LaVar Ball who said publicly that the younger Ball wouldn't play for the Celtics.

Ball's shooting woes continued on Wednesday as he finished with just 9 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field in 39 minutes of playing time.

"It's just in my head, to be honest," said Ball. "I know I can shoot the ball."

Ball is also dealing with the recent arrest of his younger brother LiAngelo Ball in China on suspicion of shoplifting.

Ball doesn't think the case will be a distraction for him.

"I mean, it's still my little brother. But I got to come out here and play," he said.

The Lakers other point guard is Jordan Clarkson who came off the bench to tie for a team-high 18 points in just 27 minutes of action.

In Oakland, California, Klay Thompson scored 28 points with 6 3-pointers, Stephen Curry had 22 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds, and Golden State beat Minnesota 125-101 for its fifth straight win.

Even without injured Kevin Durant, the defending champions began to look like their dominant old selves.

Draymond Green posted another all-round balanced performance with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks for the Warriors, who played without NBA Finals MVP Durant as he nursed a bruised left thigh. Andre Iguodala started in place of Durant, and the 2015 Finals MVP scored a season-high 11 points.

Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Timberwolves had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, it was: Pistons 114, Pacers 97; Magic 112, Knicks 99; Heat 126, Suns 115.


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