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Celtics topple Lakers in another forgettable game

Celtics topple Lakers in another forgettable game
Celtics center Al Horford and Lakers center Tarik Black battle for a rebound during the first half Friday. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Throughout the history of the NBA, the Lakers and Boston Celtics have faced each other in dozens of memorable, even historic games.

Friday night's game was entirely forgettable.

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Green-clad Celtics fans dotted Staples Center, the Lakers wore throwback jerseys resembling those they wore during their 1987 championship season, and the Celtics embarrassed the Lakers, 115-95.

"As we were playing hard and competing, they kept inching that lead out more and more, and then it felt like we got in desperation mode, which is the thing we need to learn from tonight," Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. "No matter what is happening in a game, these games are long. ...

"We have to continue to look at these opportunities, whether we're up or down, it's a blowout, a close game, as a way of taking advantage and continuing to play the way we did when we started the game. I think we just lost some confidence and we lost our poise as they kept making shots and stretching that lead out."

The Lakers (19-43) lost their sixth game in a row and fell into last place in the Western Conference, a game behind the Phoenix Suns.

Every Celtics starter scored in double figures, led by point guard Isaiah Thomas, who had 18 points and eight assists. Center Al Horford had 17 points on eight-for-12 shooting.

Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram got into foul trouble early, took only two shots and didn't score. Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points — all of them in the third quarter. Julius Randle (13) and D'Angelo Russell (17) were the only other Lakers to reach double figures. Luol Deng, a starter when the season began, was inactive.

The Lakers trailed by 25 points, 70-45, at halftime, and things got worse after that.

The low point came with 4 minutes 50 seconds left in the third quarter, when Thomas threw an assist off the backboard to Jaylen Brown for a dunk in transition. The flashy score put the Lakers down 31.

"You don't want to see nobody do that," Clarkson said. "That's kind of embarrassing. We just tried to turn the intensity up during the game to have a chance for us to win it in the fourth."

The Lakers seemed to muster some pride after the Brown dunk. To close the third quarter, they orchestrated a 20-4 run and cut the Celtics' lead to 15. Clarkson scored 15 points during that run.

The Lakers could get no closer than 13 points.

By the end, the Lakers had been swept by the Boston Celtics for the first time in nearly a decade.

"As an organization and fans and as players we don't ever want to get swept by our rivals," Walton said. "But that's very far down the list of things that I concern myself with, with where we're at, where we're trying to go."

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Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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