April 21, 2024

As the Lakers wrapped a treacherous run of schedule that had them stuck on the road more often than not, coach Darvin Ham looked ahead to the next game — a trip home to host the Boston Celtics on Christmas afternoon.

“We get a chance to see where we are,” Ham said after the Lakers beat Oklahoma City on Saturday. “We’ve had a tough past 30 days, but we get a chance to get home, spend a day at home with our families on Christmas Eve, wake up, open up some presents and get down to the Crypto and get ready to get busy.

“You don’t have to have a Knute Rockne speech for this one.”

The Gipper scored as many points as any of the Lakers starters in the first three minutes of Monday’s game, a miserable stretch that forced the team to sprint uphill for the remainder of a game they’d eventually lose 126-115.

Boston’s 12-0 start eventually became an 18-point lead in the first quarter before the Lakers got back into the game.

Despite being road weary and, obviously, further behind in their development as a team this season, the Lakers fought.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis flashes the signature "freeze" sign after making a three-pointer against the Celtics.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis flashes the signature “freeze” sign after making a three-pointer against the Celtics during the second quarter Monday.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Anthony Davis dominated, scoring a season-high 40 to go with 13 rebounds and Taurean Prince tied a season best with five made three-pointers.

The Lakers led early in the third quarter before Boston’s toughness, talent and size broke the Lakers’ down. Early it was Jaylen Brown in the midrange before Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis took turns giving the Lakers’ problems. And all game, guards Jrue Holiday and Derrick White, played the kind of two-way game that has them considered one of the best all-around backcourts in the NBA.

Meanwhile, the group that started for the Lakers on Monday — Davis, Prince, LeBron James Cam Reddish and Jarred Vanderbilt — failed to give the Lakers the kind of defensive punch Ham hoped when he put the group together before the Lakers’ win against the Thunder.

James scored just 16 points on five-of-14 shooting, tumbling to the court in a heap in the first half after kneeing Brown in the back during an awkward defensive possession.

Lakers forward LeBron James grimaces in pain while lying on the court after colliding with Celtics forward Jaylen Brown.

Lakers forward LeBron James grimaces in pain while lying on the court after colliding with Celtics forward Jaylen Brown during the game Monday.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

He remained in the game while Brown headed to the locker room before returning for the second half.

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