Although the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics 121-113, head coach Fred Vogel was impressed with how the bench competed in the second half of the matchup. New addition guard Ben McLemore scored 15 of his 17 points during the fourth quarter, closing the Lakers’ 22-point deficit down to five.
Forwards Alfonzo McKinnie, Davontae Cacok, and Kostas Antetokounmpo were in the fray at that time. Vogel noted that those players wanted to win that stretch.
“It was awesome how they performed down the stretch,” he said. “Those guys came out and competed their tails off, I’m very, very proud of them.”
The Lakers scored 34 points in the fourth phase, forcing Celtics head coach Brad Stevens to sub their starters back in.
“I think we were up 24 when McLemore hit that first three and when I saw that go in, it’s like ‘oh, come on, let’s get down and score and stem the tide’,” Stevens said. “He hit a couple more and now, all of a sudden, they’re on, feeling great. We’re not in-sync.”
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma noted how other members of the team did not really play that hard.
“That was a lot of fun seeing those guys get in and compete for ladder of the game,” he said. “To see those guys come in and give effort, that was everything.”
With 10 points, this was the second time McKinnie scored in the double digits this month. The last time was during the Lakers’ authoritative 126-101 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. However, it was hard to find an answer to Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who scored 40 points in the bout.
“He made a lot of tough shots,” Kuzma said. “For us, I don’t think we followed certain game plan, issues that we had with that.”
Talen Horton-Tucker led the Lakers in scoring with 19 points, he was one of four bench players who scored in the double digits in the game. Center Marc Gasol chipped in by landing four of six three-pointers. In the process, he dislocated his left pinkie finger but continued to play.
“We were attacking what they were giving us on the offensive end,” Gasol said. “We couldn’t get enough stops, they were too comfortable on offense, they were getting to the spots they wanted.”
Anthony Davis is getting closer to returning tjo the hardwood. He is now able to participate in practices.
“It’s gonna be great just to get extra bodies out there, that’s the most important thing outside of getting acclimated and back to become playing shape,” Kuzma said. “We’ve had a long stretch, a lot of guys have been missing.”
The Lakers return to the Staples Center Saturday, April 17 to compete against the Utah Jazz at 1:30 P.M.