Pippen Jr.'s Game Winner Secures Thrilling Win Over Celtics
By South Bay Lakers Staff /March 3, 2023
The South Bay Lakers played their ninth home game against the Maine Celtics as they won, 129-128, on Thursday night. Shaq Harrison and Cole Swider led the Lakers (16-7) in scoring with 22 points each. Luka Samancic paced the Celtics (14-9), scoring 43 points.
South Bay started the game with a clear intensity and intent on both ends of the floor, enabling them to jump out to a quick eight-point lead mid-way through the first period. While the Celtics were able to get back into the game through some second chance opportunities, the Lakers still led by seven through one. Shaq Harrison led the way with nine first quarter points. A nice boost of energy off the bench from Nate Pierre-Louis helped South Bay keep the momentum they had built in the first frame, extending their lead to as many is 20. Harrison and Bryce Hamilton scored 13 and 12 points respectively. Celtics center Luka Samanic put up 17 points in the half. The Lakers led going to halftime, 72-58.
It looked to be more of the same through the initial part of the third period, with South Bay continuing to build their lead. However, a 27-7 run from Maine to close the quarter saw a 20-point South Bay lead completely erased. After being held scoreless through the first half, Denzel Valentine exploded for 14 third quarter points to help spark the Celtic comeback. The game was all square, 95-95, going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was as intense as it gets, with both teams continuing to trade buckets until the final buzzer. With South Bay down 124-126, Swider hit a three-point shot to put the Lakers up one with 18 seconds left. Samancic then drew a foul on the ensuing possession, hitting both free throws to put the Celtics back up one with eight seconds remaining. After drawing a foul that led to a sideline out of bounds, South Bay had just five seconds left in the game. The ball found its way to Scotty Pippen Jr., who broke down his man and hit a floating shot with one tenth of a second remaining.
Pippen Jr. put together a final line of 20 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Harrison added 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Swider contributed 22 points of his own. For the Celtics, Samancic put up 43 points, just two off his career high. Valentine contributed 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
South Bay will prepare for a rematch with the Celtics for their next game on Saturday, March 4 at 5:00pm from the UCLA Health Training Center.