The other night I was fortunate enough to venture into enemy lines to see my beloved (terribly slumping) Celtics play the evil (and also sucky and evil) Lakers. With my throwback 80’s Celtics starter jacket that I was bequeathed with for Christmas, I saw the big dog Marcus Fucking Smart miss game winning shot after trying to be top dog all night. It was frustrating when the effing Kyrie Irving was on the floor with him.
As always, Bill Simmons sums up my Boston Sports take batter than me:
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING I WOULD HAVE RATHER HAD KYRIE IRVING TAKE THE LAST SHOT TONIGHT OVER MARCUS SMART.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 24, 2018
The game, losing aside, was part of a yearly tradition where my buddy Manny, who roots for the dark side, and I go to the Laker – Celtic game.
Each year, the adventure always starts the same. We show up with what we think is more than enough time to get in, especially considering the reputation that Los Angeles fans have, only to find that 30 minutes is not enough time when seemingly one million people are standing outside.
Of course, as soon as we get in it looks as though only a third of the stadium is there, so maybe this is more of a concern we can bring up to the Staples Center planning commission.
That said, as soon as we get in, the last few years at least, I get super cocky and talk my shit, only to shortly realize that my Celtics aren’t the Warriors and the Lakers are lowkey feisty.
Sound like a spoiled Boston sports fan? You’re probably right, but here are the last four games we went to:
Lakers win in Overtime, 118-111, Isaiah Thomas’ first game and he got ejected thereby making him beloved for the next two and a half years.
Celtics win 107-100
Celtics win 115-95
Lakers win 108-107
Okay, after looking over those numbers it is pretty clear that this is a spoiled Boston fan ranting and raving.
That said, I hoped to get something I could write about from this game, other than that I went to the Celtics – Heat earlier this year, the Kelly Olynyk “revenge” game, and that my team finds new and exciting ways to break my heart.
But anyways, here are some takeaways.
Julius Randle Is A Good Trade Chip
He’s a bit awkward and clumsy; my favorite moment of the night is when he tries to do a Shake and Bake at the top of the key and managed to fumble the ball completely. Manny pointed out that the man has tunnel vision, which I can see.
That said the once touted prospect is a bit of a throwback from an era of big man bully ball, still raw, but chalk full of potential. The third year forward went 6-12 with 14 points and 14 rebounds in just 26 minutes.
More importantly, he managed to totally control the paint and made the consistent All Star Al Horford, living up to his unflattering moniker of average Al. I don’t know if he necessarily needs to stay on this team, after all he is coming up to a healthy sized contract that they will want off the books for free agency this year, but don’t sleep on him. He deserves minutes. Maybe there is a spot for big men in the modern NBA after all.
Kyle Kuzma Is Really Fun, If Not the Real Deal
This kid fires it from the hip with a speed that would take down John Wayne in his heyday. I know that he may be young, but 28 points in 27 minutes off of 10-16 shooting against a team as staunch on defense as the Celtics is impressive.
A coming out game in a coming out season. Especially hated watching that three pointer at the top of the key go in seemingly every single time he touched it, 5-7 beyond the arc.
The future is here, and it cost the Celtics the game. Also Marcus Smart trying to be there hero wasn’t great either for the outcome.
Kyle Kuzma Needs A Proper Nickname
Normally I wouldn’t take such interest in a Laker player’s nickname, but I noticed that Kuzma was going by “Kuz” last night.
That fucking name is reserved for one man and one man alone. The great, Hall of Famer Bob Cousy. Maybe you blocked him out of your memory, but the six time champion beat your Lakers in the finals twice in LA and once in Minneapolis. I know it has been a while since Laker fans have had anything to look forward to, but calm down and put some respect on his name. Literally.
In the meantime go back to the lab. I think the aforementioned Western gunslinger approach is fruitful and worth explorer. Kyle Cassidy and the Stupid Ball Kid. Kyle Oakley. Something like that.
Lonzo Ball Didn’t Play
No one cared. At all.
Kyrie is Freaking Magician
This may not be news or a fresh take per se, but Kyrie is one of those guys you have to see live to really understand just how crazy what he does is. He can turn and stop on a dime, juke twenty times, and then drain the shot covered with by like 20 guys. Not only is he an amazing finisher, but his pull up jumper is scary too.
My favorite Celtic in recent years is Rondo. I was always captivated by the angles he would fine in his passes, the finesse, the way he could read the court. It was infectious.
Kyrie is the Rondo of scoring. He makes everything look so complicated and so effortless at once. I love it.
The Celtics Shot 15-44 Behind the Arc
I don’t have a takeaway except for that they shouldn’t do that. They took 90 shots in total. Boston super bullish on the three despite being in the middle of the pack for three point percentage throughout the year.
It is easy to say that maybe if one of those ones hit they would have won the game, but if they attempted a two pointer instead, they could have won it too. The game is changing and you have to adapt, but sometimes, common sense should prevail.
Which leads me to:
Boston Misses Gordon Hayward
Obviously when the team’s number two option went down in the opening minutes of the season, everyone figured it would crush them. Somehow they have been able to bounce back and surged super hot right after, allowing for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to find their stride.
But reality is starting to sync in and the fact is that it is hard to win in this league with only one elite scorer on the floor despite all of the little things your other guys can do. This is a great team with a high ceiling, and they have made the most out of Hayward being out. But the two went a combined 5-17 last night, and proved just how hard it is to learn consistency night in and night out.
Which brings us to our last point:
It Is A Long Season
Take this however you want. For the Celtics and Laker this game doesn’t really matter, despite what the drunk Lakers’ fans around me were yelling at the final buzzer.
It is what it is, just another notch in the plus or minus column for each team.
That said, for a team like the Lakers, a team effort win against a rival at home can go a long way. They may not have much to look forward to down the line, but games like these are the ones you want to build on. They have a lot of positives right now on their side.
For the Celtics, it ultimately won’t determine anything, gulp hopefully. That said, that was their fourth loss in a row. They beat the Clippers the next night on Wednesday and let’s hope that they can create some positive momentum prior to the All Star break. With the Cavs slumping and the Raptors surging, this is the time to win.
Okay, I have one more:
It’s Easy to Win, When You Pay The Refs
Checkout these free throw splits:
8-10 vs 21-36
All I am saying is that I am just saying.