The last time LeBron James appeared with the Lakers, before tonight, was on November 2, against the Rockets. Since then, water has flowed under the bridges in California, since the “Purple & Gold” have lost five times in their last eight outings.
Despite the (eagerly awaited) return to business of the “King”, the bad series of Los Angeles also continued in Massachusetts, since the Celtics inflicted a third consecutive setback on their historic rivals (130-108) . Drawing their success after the break, using a successful 70-47 in the last two quarters!
In the wake of a super Jayson Tatum (37 points, 11 rebounds), globally all Boston players have responded today: from Marcus Smart (22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) to Dennis Schröder ( 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists), through Al Horford (18 points) and Josh Richardson (15 points).
Enough to resist the cardboard in the racket of a too lonely Anthony Davis (31 points), LeBron James (23 points) and Carmelo Anthony (13 points) excepted.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— A collective facing individualities. Collectively attractive in the first quarter, the Lakers then fell back into their own, using and abusing the game in isolation, sometimes with LeBron James, sometimes with Russell Westbrook, sometimes with Carmelo Anthony, sometimes with Anthony Davis. A godsend for the defense of the Celtics, well in place for several games. And Boston was able to get their ideas straight, after being led by a good ten points. Sanctioning Los Angeles by relying, for its part, on a much better established collective, behind a brilliant Jayson Tatum (37 points).
— Another failed third quarter for LA. Serious and diligent in the first act, therefore, the Lakers gradually thwarted in attack. First in the second quarter, when their crazy skill fell and Anthony Davis was resting. Then, above all, on returning from the locker room, when the Celtics’ holders jumped around the necks of the “Purple & Gold”, with this 14-4 to start the period. Cut in the paint (56 points conceded), Frank Vogel’s players never found the solution against Boston, now posting a terrible differential of -92 (!), In 17 third quarter-times this season …
— LeBron James is back. Two weeks after his last game, the “King” was one of the few reasons for satisfaction on the side of the Lakers. Author of 23 points, at 10/16 on shots, the quadruple MVP thus signed a smooth recovery, reassuring very quickly about his physical condition, with a big dunk and two superb “fadeaways” from the baseline. In addition to setting the tone in defense, as a leader. Except that the collective improvement was only short-lived and the winger of almost 37 years then especially shone individually, whether at 3-points (3/7) or in counter-attack, in front of Grant Williams. But, despite the defeat, this comeback is gratifying for LA
✅ Marcus Smart. When Jayson Tatum and Dennis Schröder quickly came out for two fouls, it was the Boston pitbull, supported by Josh Richardson, who took the Celtics’ offense in hand. While aggressively, the 27-year-old thus allowed his family not to be left behind in the first quarter (11 points), going to look for faults and baskets in the paint. Launched towards his best game of the season, the “combo-guard” of the C’s then continued his momentum throughout the evening, spiking with confidence this porous defense of the Californians, when it gave him the opportunity (22 points at final).
✅ Dennis Schröder. Revenge, the German (21 points) played a nasty trick on his former team. First hampered by faults, like his friend Jayson Tatum, he waited to come back in the second quarter (10 points) to make the Lakers (including LeBron James) run wild, with his aggressiveness and his incessant penetrations. the dragster Boston then helped his team pick up the score, then pass. Before delivering the coup de grace to Los Angeles after the break, still in the same register, but also on the pass, taking advantage of the defensive largesse of the “Purple & Gold” in the racket.
⛔ Talen Horton-Tucker. Author of three very good first outings (17, 28 and 25 points), “THT” fell into line last night. Still titular despite the return of LeBron James, the young Californian nugget finally struggled to win behind his “Big Three”, hesitating again to draw behind the arc or go after his penetrations. This thus disturbed him for the evening (0/6 on shots). Difficult to know if his place is in the starting five, when the team is complete, but what is certain is that the rear / winger cannot behave like a simple “role player” , in order to benefit his own.
Boston (8-8) : OKC reception, overnight from Saturday to Sunday (1:30 am).
Los Angeles (8-9) : displacement in Detroit, in the night from Sunday to Monday (00:00).