Tatum scored 37, the Celtics beat the Lakers in James’ comeback
Boston Jason Tatum scored 37 points and the Boston Celtics beat Los Angeles 130-108 on Friday night as LeBron James returns to the Lakers lineup.
Marcus Smart scored 22 points and Dennis Schroeder 21 for Boston (8-8), which rose to 0.500 points. Tatum scored 11 rebounds and Alhorford added 18 points.
Anthony Davis led Los Angeles with 31 points, and James finished with 23 points in 32 minutes. They each have six rebounds and two assists.
James missed eight games due to abdominal strain, and the Lakers went 3-5 during his absence. They have lost their last four road matches.
Teams that have captured nearly half of the NBA championships with 17 teams competing in front of a bustling TD Garden crowd made it seem like a watershed atmosphere from the get-go.
Hall of Famer Bill Russell—introduced as the “true Celtics legend” when the PA announcer greeted him again and appeared on the Jumbotron podium in the middle of the opening quarter—was seated courtside wearing a hat with the initials “KB” surrounded by a yellow heart in Introduction to the late Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
The Celtics took an 11-point lead in the final quarter and opened a 109-94 lead on Tatum’s three-point play with 6:59 points remaining. His index 3 increased from the left corner to 116-99 with 5:02 to go.
The Lakers made nine of their 12 first shots on their way to a 38-30 lead after one quarter.
James’ first basket came as a thunderous dunk from his track down the fairway two and a half minutes into the game.
Boston erased a 14-point deficit in the second quarter and took the lead before giving the James Lakers a 61-60 first-half chance.
The Celtics opened the second half in 14-4 increments and led a 93-82 entry into the fourth inning.
Lakers: Davis has been classified as likely to have a right thigh injury. … In response to a question before the game what the Lakers missed without James, coach Frank Vogel said: “Just a quarterback, leading and managing the team.” …this was the second of a five-game road trip.
Celtics: Head coach IM Udoka NF Jaylen Brown said he is “close” to a comeback and “really wants to play” on Friday. The team’s top scorer with 26.5 points per game missed his seventh goal in a row due to a right hamstring injury. … Robert Williams III missed his second goal in a row due to a left knee injury. …Paul Pierce, who went into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year, was also courtside along with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a few Patriots players.
Odoka said his boss Brad Stevens, the former Celtics coach before becoming head coach after last season, made it clear what the first-year coach was about to make his first game against the Lakers.
“He said, fasten your seat belts,” Odoka said. “The city calls for this match all the time.”
On the other hand
Vogel, in his third season with Los Angeles, was already involved in the rivalry. He did not hesitate to talk about the match before the match.
“He’s the best of all sports in my opinion,” he said.
Vogel was also an assistant to the Celtics from 2001 to 2004.
Lakers: In Detroit on Sunday.
Celtics: Host Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
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