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New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Celtics – Game 17

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (8-9) | Boston Celtics (8-8)


Another second half collapse doomed the Los Angeles Lakers as they dropped their third in a row to the Boston Celtics 130-108.


Lakers vs Celtics
Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP

Despite what was described as “50/50 chances” for LeBron James to play in this game, the King made his long-awaited return to the court ahead of schedule in hopes of turning the struggling Lakers around.

The game began with a Jayson Tatum foul 16 seconds in, resulting in two free throws for Anthony Davis. Davis added another two points off a Boston turnover to go up 4-0 in 30 seconds. Tatum responded afterward with a quick three, while Al Horford edged the Celtics ahead for the first time in the game with a mid-range jumper. Davis fired back with a layup to put Los Angeles ahead while Avery Bradley sank a three and James threw down a dunk for his first points since October.

Four and a half minutes into the game, Laker-turned-Celtic Dennis Schroder drove for a layup but was countered by a James three and a Davis paint shot to extend the Lakers’ lead to nine. Halfway through the first quarter, the Celtics tried to fight back as Schroder hit a three to make it a five-point game, but James and Davis added four total points afterward. The lead would be managed throughout the rest of the first quarter, as Los Angeles responded to any run Boston tried to build. The Lakers ended the first quarter with a 38-30 lead.

Schroder and James traded points to begin the second quarter, but Boston began to creep back into the game as Tatum hit a three to cut the lead back down to five. Schroder made a long jump shot to cut the lead to three until Dwight Howard answered with a tip shot almost a minute and a half later. Despite the answers by the Lakers, the Celtics continued to close in until they took the lead off of six straight points by Tatum and Schroder. Down by three, Carmelo Anthony nailed a three to tie the game at 51 with 3:54 left in the first half.

Tatum answered with a three of his own while Anthony matched him two possessions later to keep the game tied. Malik Monk broke the tie in Los Angeles’s favor with a dunk in the paint to go up by two, but Boston had the answers this time around. With a minute left in the half, Horford made a layup to put the Celtics up 60-59, but James responded as time wound down with a two-pointer of his own.


The halftime buzzer sounded with the Lakers hanging on to a 61-60 lead over the rival Celtics.


Lakers vs Celtics
Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP

As the third quarter got underway, it became apparent early on that the Lakers’ struggles would continue. Marcus Smart scored five straight points, followed by a Horford three-point shot to begin the quarter on an 8-0 run in two minutes. James and Davis tried to help the Lakers get back into it but were answered each time they scored. Russell Westbrook hit a 3-pointer four minutes into the quarter to cut the gap down to six. The deficit went to five after Tatum’s free throws, and a Bradley three-pointer made the score 76-71.

Halfway through the third quarter, the Celtics began to open the lead a little more as Grant Williams hit a three to extend it to eight. Josh Richardson added two points to make it a 10 point game, and Boston only got hotter from there as the lead grew to 14 off of points from Schroder and Horford. The Lakers tried to fight back as they cut the deficit back to nine, but twice in the last minute and a half, the Boston lead was extended to 11 thanks to foul trouble by Los Angeles. The third quarter proved abysmal again for the Lakers as they trailed 93-82 at the buzzer.

The fourth quarter saw no shifts in momentum for the first four minutes. Boston pulled out to a 14 point lead as the quarter reached halfway, thanks in most part to free throws. The lead extended to 17 thanks to a three from Tatum with five minutes remaining. After a Monk free throw, Boston did not let up off the throttle, extending the lead to 20 with more free throws from Horford. The game slipped out of reach in the final minutes as the game ended with Howard and Enes Kanter sinking a three-point shot each. The Celtics dominated the second half and took the win by a score of 130-108.

Four Lakers scored in double figures on the night, with support from the rest of the cast continuing to pose issues for the team in staying in games. Davis led the team with 31 points, while James scored 23 points in his first game back. Anthony scored 13 points off the bench, while Westbrook added 12 points on the night.

The Celtics saw five players in double figures, with a game-high 37 points and 11 rebounds led by Tatum. Smart ended with 22 points while Schroder dropped 21 points against his former team. Horford scored 18 points while Richardson added 15 points off the bench.


The next Lakers game will be on Sunday as the team heads to Detroit to take on the Pistons. The game will begin at 3:00 and can be seen on Spectrum SportsNet.


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– Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

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