There has been very little to celebrate in Laker Land this season. While Kobe Bryant’s historical moment of passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list in December gave the purple and gold fanbase a high, the overall state of the current team grounded that buzz pretty quickly. The Lakers’ longtime rival, the Boston Celtics, share similar woes, as they are in rebuild mode. Yet, regardless of how good or bad these two teams are when they face each other, the result tends to be entertaining and competitive.
Like so many of the Lakers versus Celtics duels of yesteryear, Sunday night’s battle at the STAPLES Center was a stage for the dramatics — albeit to a lesser degree due to both team’s current records. Isaiah Thomas, who scored 21 points in 25 minutes in his Celtics debut, got ejected after disagreeing with a call late in the fourth quarter. The Lakers nearly blew a 10-point lead with three-and-a-half minutes left in regulation. Nick Young missed one-of-two free throws to open the door for Avery Bradley to nail a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Yada, yada, yada.
However, the Lakers put away Boston for good in extra time, as they outscored the Celtics 12-5 in the five-minute stretch. Jeremy Lin finished with a game-high 25 points and six assists in the Lakers win, which most likely came to the dismay of fans wanting them to tank…even against the Celtics.
The Lakers have already collected 41 losses this season and entered into Sunday’s game against their historic rival with a seven-game losing streak. Thus, the 118-111 victory acted as a joyful point of relief, even if it is only temporary for the Lakers this season. This also explains why Nick Young, Jordan Hill, and Carlos Boozer treated their videobomb of Lin’s postgame interview with Lakers reporter Mike Trudell as if they had just won a playoff series.
As Lin said at the end of the interview, “It’s been a long year.” It’s safe to say that every Lakers fan concurs with that statement.