Lakers Drop Celtics
By Maine Celtics Staff /March 5, 2023
EL SEGUNDO, CA – The Maine Celtics dropped their third straight game as they fell to the South Bay Lakers, 114-98 at UCLA Health Training Center.
Luka Šamanić put up 27 points on 10-14 shooting to go with five rebounds for Maine (14-10), following up a 43-point outing last time out. Kamar Baldwin turned in 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists and Two-Way big Mfiondu Kabengele added 11 points and three rebounds. Denzel Valentine logged 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Two-Way guard JD Davison posted six points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Scottie Lindsey and Tony Snell both had nine points and six rebounds.
Two-Way guard Scottie Pippen Jr. scored 34 points to lead South Bay (17-7). Los Angeles assignee Max Christie totaled 17 points and seven rebounds and LJ Figueroa had 15 points. Bryce Hamilton tallied 13 points and five assists and Nathan Pierre-Louis scored 10 points. Shaq Harrison contributed nine points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Šamanić drove hard down the lane and skied for a dunk to open the scoring; he’d tally Maine’s first seven while the Lakers got out to an early 11-7 lead. Snell’s triple gave the Celtics the lead on a quick 5-0 run before Harrison got it right back for South Bay. Maine scored five-straight again to take the lead out of the first time out in what was a back-and-forth first quarter. Šamanić put up 13 points in the frame and the game stood tied at 27 after an up-tempo first.
South Bay hit a pair of threes to begin the second, kicking off a 10-2 run that came to a halt when Baldwin posterized Christie on a transition dunk. The Celtics stayed close throughout the second but couldn’t quite catch up despite a 20-point first half on a perfect 8-8 shooting from Šamanić. Maine got within three, 53-50, but the Lakers finished the quarter strong and stretched the lead out to seven, 61-54 by halftime. The Lakers shot 51.7 percent from the floor as a team with nine made three-pointers to Maine’s 43.4 percent and 5-22 mark from range across the opening 24 minutes.
It was an evenly matched start to the second half until the Celtics ripped off a 7-0 run that tied the game at 67 with 6:40 to go in the third. The game stayed tied at 67 for over two minutes until Pippen broke the ice with a three that triggered a Maine timeout. The Celtics were able to get within one on a tough layup from Baldwin, but South Bay responded with an 8-2 run to put themselves up by seven, 80-73 late in the quarter. Pippen’s 1-for-2 in the final seconds made it 84-73, giving South Bay and 11-point lead after three.
The Lakers came out with a vengeance to kick off the fourth, with Pippen and Pierre-Louis each throwing one down to make it a 15-point game, 88-73 within the first minute of the quarter. Christie stepped into a trey and nailed it to put the Lakers up 99-79 with just over seven minutes left, and though the Celtics strung together a couple of small runs, South Bay maintained control of the game and led by double-digits all the way to the buzzer. The Lakers bench outscored Maine’s bench 79-26 as South Bay earned a 114-98 win.
The Celtics complete a back-to-back tomorrow evening against the Ontario Clippers before returning to the Expo for a two-game set with the conference-leading Long Island Nets on March 9 and 12.