So far this season, Kyrie Irving has proven his skeptics wrong in his move from Cleveland to Boston. Irving's post-LeBron prospects looked dim when Gordon Hayward went down with an injury, but Coach Brad Stevens has pressed all the right buttons. Heading into the game, the Celtics had a nine-game winning streak and were the top-rated defense in the NBA with a 19- and 21-year old (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) in the starting lineup. However, with defensive stalwart Al Horford out (concussion protocol), it was all hands on deck with the Los Angeles Lakers coming into town.

Celtics' game recap

Boston demolished Los Angeles 33-16 in the opening frame. The Lakers turned the ball over 10 times but made a run in the second quarter to get back in the game. Behind reserves, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, the Lakers cut the lead to six before an Aron Baynes' basket and free throw at the end of the half took the Celtics' lead up to nine.

While the Lakers' starters began the game like they were in a coma, they came out strong after half-time, reducing the lead to three at one point. But a late run by the Celtics extended that margin to six, and Boston maintained its edge throughout the fourth quarter. Los Angeles never quite got as close as three again. The Celtics held them off for an 11-point victory.

Celtics' game MVP

Aron Baynes? The journeyman center played fantastic for the Celtics in place of Horford. Whether it was finishing around the basket, mid-range jumpers, or getting to the free throw line, Baynes displayed an array of skills on a night where Irving's shooting was off, Tatum got hurt, and Brown didn't play his best.

He shot 8-12 from the field for 21 points and had eight boards.

Rest of Celtics' starters

Kyrie Irving looked spectacular early in the game, effortlessly driving passed Lonzo Ball on his way to the basket. Check out the ball-handling clinic Irving put on against the Lakers' defense.

After 12 first-half points, Irving struggled in the second half, going just 2-8 from the floor.

He finished the game with 19 points on 7-21 shooting, but played solid defense against Lonzo Ball, holding him to 4-15 from the field. Jaylen Brown hauled in 11 rebounds but also had a tough time with his shot (3-11 for nine points). The return of Marcus Morris last week helped bolster the Celtics' depth. He chipped in 18 points in 24 minutes. Jayson Tatum (five points) left the game in the second quarter with ankle soreness.

Celtics' bench

The Celtics' bench stepped up against the Lakers. Several players played important minutes in the first half, helping Boston to their big lead. Marcus Smart (nine points/six assists) started in place of Tatum in the third quarter and made winning plays on both ends of the floor. Terry Rozier (14 points/eight rebounds) hit some big shots to ensure the Celtics kept their lead, and Daniel Theis had some strong drives to the basket on his way to eight points.