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Celtics End Road Trip On a High Note in Thrilling Win over Lakers

(NBA Getty Images)

For the first time this season, the Boston Celtics looked like something other than the team that had been setting the league on fire through the first two months. Boston dropped consecutive games to the Warriors and Clippers, struggling to find anything easy on offense. Over the course of two games, the C's shot just 21/79 (26.5%) from three. Tatum shot 13/41, and averaged just 19 points. To put it simply, the Celtics played their worst two games of the season back-to-back. This led to some speculation across the media and even Celtic fans. Was this the "shooting regression" that everyone was suggesting might happen? Is this team too reliant on Jayson Tatum? No matter what the Celtics did Tuesday night against the Lakers, those were silly questions. But, Boston found a way to put them to bed in an exhilarating overtime win in Los Angeles.

Boston would enter the contest without starting big man Al Horford for the fifth consecutive game. This would slide Blake Griffin into the starting lineup to deal with Anthony Davis, one of the most dominant big men in today's game. The Celtics wasted no time as they jumped out to an early 15-5 lead. The return of the three ball was a welcoming sight as Boston hit their first three attempts from long range. A balanced scoring attack would find the Celtics up 37-24 after one quarter.

The second quarter belonged to Jayson Tatum as he scored 15 points in a variety of ways. Tatum was scoring at all three levels, and showing off his abilities as a playmaker as well. Anthony Davis was doing his best to keep LA in the game while receiving the full attention of the Celtic defense. Davis would finish the half with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Boston would take a 65-50 lead to the locker room.

Jaylen Brown began the third quarter with a display of shotmaking as he knocked down a slew of contested jumpers. Boston quickly found themselves up 20, and this game seemed to be all but over. However, the Lakers hung around and kept the lead around 15 for the majority of the third quarter. Los Angeles would close the quarter on a 21-7 run and find themselves down just 6 points entering the final quarter of play.

A lot of things can happen in six minutes. Or, in the Celtics case, a lot of nothing. The Celtics went on a six-minute scoring drought from the end of the third quarter into the fourth. The offense totally shut down and resorted to ugly 1-on-1 basketball. Turnover after turnover gave the Lakers easy transition buckets, and Boston somehow found themselves down 12 in what seemed like the matter of seconds. In the blink of an eye this went from a comfortable road win to the worst loss of the season, or so we thought. Just as quickly as Boston gave up their lead, they found a way to extend the game. 5 points in 7 seconds from Grant Williams and Marcus Smart cut the Laker lead to just five with two minutes remaining. A missed jumper from Davis gave the Celtics the ball back down two with 20 seconds left. Everyone in the arena knew where the ball was going. Tatum got the ball with about 15 seconds remaining, and went to work on Lebron. The Celtic superstar channeled his inner Kobe Bryant and hit a spinning fadeaway with 8 seconds left on the clock to stun the Laker crowd. Lebron's last second game-winner fell short and somehow, someway, this game was headed to overtime.

LA got off to a fast start in the overtime period, but it quickly became evident that their two superstars, James and Davis, were running on fumes. The Laker offense put their hopes in the hands of Russell Westbrook jumpers, which is not the best idea. The Celtics stood and watched Westbrook, begging him to shoot from distance. Davis only touched the ball once in the five minutes of overtime. Offensively, the Jays continued their incredible night, putting the Lakers in an 8 point hole with under a minute left. This was one lead that proved too much to overcome, and the Celtics would escape arena with a sigh of relief, and a win. Tatum would finish with 44 points on 15/29 shooting, and might have saved his MVP case for the time being.

Boston returns home on Friday where they will face the Orlando Magic. Boston has a nice chance to get a winning streak going as their next four games are against teams .500 or below.

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