Fri, Nov 10, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Celtics defeat Lakers to extend streak

DISTRACTED?Los Angeles’ Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall draft pick, continued to struggle, saying that the issue is in his head and that his brother’s arrest was irrelevant


The Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, center, drives to the basket between the Los Angeles Lakers’ Brook Lopez, left, and Lonzo Ball in their NBA game in Boston on Wednesday.

Photo: AP

The injury-riddled Boston Celtics on Wednesday won their 10th straight game by cruising to a 107-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in a matchup between two of the NBA’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 quarter.

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

Baynes, 30, who was born in New Zealand, but grew up in Cairns, Australia, also grabbed eight rebounds and had three assists in front of a crowd of 18,600 at Boston Garden.

“We have such great creators on this team,” Baynes said. “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,” he added.

Boston’s Kyrie Irving overcame a poor shooting night to finish with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.

However, 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 eight 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,” he added.

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

Wednesday also marked the first professional meeting between Celtics rookie and third overall pick Jayson Tatum and Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. However, 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 five points and had one rebound and one assist in nine minutes during the first half. He did not return for the second half.

Tatum, 19, 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.

Point guard Ball was loudly booed during the pregame introductions and jeered every time he touched the ball. Celtics fans are still upset at his father, LaVar Ball, who said publicly that Lonzo Ball would not play for the Celtics.

Ball’s shooting problems continued on Wednesday, as he finished with just nine points on four-of-15 shooting from the field in 39 minutes of playing time.

“It’s just in my head, to be honest,” Lonzo Ball said. “I know I can shoot the ball.”

Lonzo Ball is also dealing with the recent arrest of his brother LiAngelo Ball in China on suspicion of shoplifting. He does not 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.

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