Boston’s defense showed up big time — holding the Lakers to 39 points on 33 percent shooting.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are shooting 66 percent and they are getting out in transition. Rajon Rondo has 10 points, Paul Pierce had 15 and the bench did well again.
Yet the Celtics lead only by 6, 45-39. That could bode well for a Lakers comeback, or it could just be a matter of time until the Celtics blow it open. But good luck predicting anything in this series.
The key reason the Lakers are hanging around are the 11 Celtics turnovers, a number of them on the break when they were trying to get easy baskets off the Lakers misses. There also were the 8 Lakers offensive rebounds leading to 10 second chance points. The Lakers are doing their job in the paint.
But they are not on defense, and the Celtics are just hitting shots and really feeling it. Twice the Lakers forced Paul Pierce to stop his shot, reload and take a hesitation jumper. Both times he nailed it. Pierce is 7 of 10 from the floor this half.
Rondo is 5 of 8, Kevin Garnett 3 of 3. The Celtics getting their shots.
Kobe has 10 points for the Lakers but needed 12 shots to get it. Gasol is 1 of 4 for 2 points. The Lakers need Gasol to open up things for Kobe, or even if the Celtics shooting comes back to earth it won’t matter. And the Celtics will head back to LA up 3-2.
Carmelo Anthony talks opportunity, playing role as he starts play in Portland
Portland is a team that needs what Anthony can bring to the court, and Anthony needs the Trail Blazers to end his career on his terms.
Saying the whole thing came together in about 48 hours, Anthony talked about joining Portland in a video posted to YouTube called “The Next Chapter.” He said the Blazers have long been on his mind.
“I always kept my eye on Portland. It just didn’t work out at other times, but now it seems like a perfect opportunity. Me and Dame, we’ve been talking for the past couple years, just off and on. CJ has been playing in my Black Ops runs for the past four years. I just look at that opportunity, that team and say, look ‘this is what I can bring to the team, this is where I can help it.’ It will only work if all parties see it the same way.”
One of the things that gave teams pause about welcoming in Anthony was whether he’d accept a role. The Trail Blazers have a pecking order: Damian Lillard is the alpha and CJ McCollum is the No. 2. Anthony is coming off the bench, not being the focal point of the offense. Anthony is saying the right things.
“What happened before is the past, I can’t dwell on that, I learned from that. This happened at a point in time in my life where I do have a lot of clarity and understanding of different situations and just life, and my approach is totally different.”
Anthony could make his debut as soon as tonight when Portland faces the Pelicans. If not, it will be soon.
Then it will not be about words, but actions.
Marcus Smart forced to leave Celtics game with with ugly right ankle sprain
“They’ll check it in the morning,” [Boston coach Brad] Stevens told reporters after the game and added, “it doesn’t look too bad.”
In his postgame comments, Smart said he was okay but he had aggravated the “exact same ankle injury I was coming back from.” He added that he “should be fine to play the rest of the road trip.”
Smart’s a competitor who wants to play. Still, with this being the same ankle he has injured twice now the team might be wise to force him to sit for a few games and let his ankle (among other ailments) heal completely and not become a chronic issue all season (there’s still nearly five months of NBA regular season left).
Look for an update from the team later on Tuesday.
Three Things to Know: Luka Doncic is destroying the NBA, setting records — and he’s still 20
LeBron Jamesis right, Doncic is a “bad m***** f*****.” Doncic is destroying the Association and he’s not yet old enough to legally buy a drink. Monday night against the Spurs he had arguably his best game yet: a career-high 42-points, plus 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
It’s hard to get a grasp on just how historic a start to the season Doncic is having, but to help here’s the full list of players who have had 40+ point triple-doubles at or before age 20:
That’s it. Expand that to age 21 and you can add Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and Isiah Thomas. That’s some Hall of Fame company Doncic is running with at a young age.
It’s far too early to have a serious MVP conversation, but if you do, Doncic has to be a part of it. He’s been that good this season.
Did I mention he’s only 20?
2) Also making history: James Harden. The Beard put up 36 points in 33:06 minutes on the court against Portland, which is actually slightly below his per game average (39.2) but is still its own bit of history.
The @HoustonRockets James Harden has more points scored than minutes played in each of his last nine games, the longest such streak since the ABA-NBA merger.
“I think that a lot of people like to normalize greatness when you see it over and over again, but it’s not normal because there’s nobody else that can do it. If it was normal, everybody would do it.”
Westbrook, by the way, had his own big night with a triple-double of 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Rockets have won eight in a row and are one of the NBA’s hottest teams right now.
3) Paul George sticks a dagger in his former team, Clippers beat Thunder. It looked like the night former Clippers would get revenge on their team: First Danilo Gallinari hit a three to tie the game at 86-86, then Chris Paul made two free throws for an 88-86 Thunder lead.
Gallinari had a shot at a three to win but it missed, George hit a free throw after being fouled, and the Clippers get out 90-88 with a win. The real Los Angeles star for the night was Montrezl Harrell, who had 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
George saw his minutes jump to 29 in just his third game back from shoulder surgeries (plural, as in both of them) but did not score north of 30 like his first two games as the Thunder defense had more of a focus on him.
Kawhi Leonard missed his third straight game with a bruised knee suffered against the Rockets.
Paul George’s late three proves to be game-winner against Thunder, his former team (VIDEO)