Celtics down Lakers, 116-95

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Celtics down Lakers, 116-95

BOSTON There was a 90-second stretch in the third quarter in which Jeff Green had a monster dunk, followed by a blocked shot moments later that led to a Paul Pierce 3-pointer.
Efficient offense.
Effective Defense.
Energetic Hustle.
The Celtics delivered the kind of Beantown beatdown seldom seen when these two bitter rivals battle as Boston had no trouble in downing the Lakers, 116-95.
Boston (26-23) has now won sixth in a row which ties their longest winning streak of the season. And with Thursday's win, it also snapped a three-game losing skid to Lakers (23-27).
Pierce led all Celtics with 24 points while Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 27 points
The first quarter was a relatively close one despite the Celtics being in early foul trouble.
In fact, the Lakers were in the bonus just 2:22 into the game courtesy of Dwight Howard attracting lots of attention - and fouls by the Celtics big men.
Among them was Kevin Garnett, who left the floor just 2:08 into the game after picking up his second personal foul.
But in the past, Garnett going to the bench meant a rough go of things for the Celtics.
It hasn't been that way lately, with the C's getting good production from Jason Collins and Chris Wilcox off the bench.
Collins did a decent job of protecting the basket along with chipping in two points.
Wilcox did much of the same, along with grabbing a couple rebounds which helped the Celtics lead 27-23 after the first.
Boston opened the second with an 8-2 run to take its first double digit lead of the night following a pair of free throws by Jeff Green.
Green was just part of a Celtic second unit that once again delivered strong play at both ends of the floor.
At the half, the C's bench had outscored the Lakers' backups 25-13 with Green (11 points) leading the way. Not too far behind was Jason Terry (six points) and Wilcox (six points, five rebounds).
Green finished with 19 points off the bench while Terry and Wilcox had 15 and 8 points, respectively.
As for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant was doing what Bryant does to most teams -- get buckets.
A 27.6 points per game scorer this season, Bryant led all players with 14 at the half. During the Lakers' recent run of success, Bryant's scoring has been balanced with a unusually high number of assists.
But on Thursday, Bryant finished with zero assists which certainly played a role in Boston taking a comfortable 58-44 lead into the half that was never in doubt afterwards.

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”