Anthony Davis, LeBron James deliver as Lakers edge Celtics in spirited rivalry game

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error PreviousBoston Celtics’ Enes Kanter has the word “Freedom” written on his sneakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots over Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)The Lakers’ LeBron James drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma dunks against the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma (0) dunks against the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum celebrates after a dunk by Jaylen Brown during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (7) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard (39) celebrates after scoring next to Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) is defended by Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart (36) and Jayson Tatum during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (0) makes a 3-point basket over Los Angeles Lakers’ Danny Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) argues a call next to Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown celebrates as he dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket under Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard, top, center, and Celtics’ Daniel Theis (27) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, top, is fouled by Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (7) shoots over Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, top left, grabs a rebound over Los Angeles Lakers’ Rajon Rondo (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, center, drives to the basket past Los Angeles Lakers’ JaVale McGee, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter has the word “Freedom” written on his sneakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots over Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)NextShow Caption1 of 18Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) shoots over Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)ExpandLOS ANGELES — From Russell and Chamberlain, to Magic and Bird, to Garnett and Kobe — the players have changed, but the Lakers and Celtics always point out that they bring out the best in each other in a rivalry that spans both coasts and eight decades.The latest installment, a 114-112 Lakers win at Staples Center, was the closest these teams have felt to the most treasured memories of the NBA’s two winningest franchises — a sparring match that stayed in relatively close range, and fanned the hopes that these two might meet again in the playoffs, where the real highlights of this series are written.LeBron James (29 points, 9 assists) hit a turnaround jumper to take a lead, and Anthony Davis (32 points, 13 rebounds) added three made free throws in the last 30 seconds to spur a victory, which the Lakers (43-12) considered payback for a blowout loss in Boston (39-17) that is still their worst defeat of the year.“We knew it was going to be a playoff type of atmosphere today,” James said. “One, because of the rivalry. Two, because of how well they played against us in Boston — they beat the hell out of us there. And three, just on the simple fact it’s two teams that have aspirations of holding that trophy up at the end of the season.” James had drop-stepped to the baseline on Brown a handful of times throughout the night, but this time, he got Brown to step back on a Dreamshake move that gave him a turnaround elbow jumper with 30 seconds left, and the Lakers never trailed again.“It was no question that we was gonna give it to him right there in his sweet spot,” Davis said. “He got to his money shot, the shot he always makes, a shot he always takes in practice and in games, and he did what he does best and made the shot.”Davis himself made key shots under pressure, hitting three of his last four free throws to put the game away for good. The Lakers also lauded Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the defensive end: He helped force turnovers on Boston’s final two possessions — including drawing an offensive foul against Tatum as he hunted for a potential game-winner with a second left.The Celtics argued that two out of bounds calls should not have gone against them during that last crucial stretch. It was the last of two calls in a game where officiating was even more visible than usual, with 67 combined free throw attempts and several questionable goaltending calls (or non-calls).It also hurt the Celtics case that perennial All-Star Kemba Walker was ruled out a day before with injury.The Lakers wanted a win badly in this series after dropping a season-worst 32-point loss last month at T.D. Garden. That desire was reflected in James’ second-quarter dive for a loose ball, upending himself by a stanchion. It was shown in Rajon Rondo’s game-high five steals, as the former Celtics guard fought desperately to knock off his old team.It was physical. At one point, the crowd hushed with concern when Daniel Theis leapt into James’ side, spilling him to the floor. It took a minute for James to pick himself up, but he checked back in quickly after a timeout.“ I didn’t have much breath left,” he said. “Got the wind knocked out of me — been a while since I felt that happen.”Off the court, there was a conciliatory air between these fan bases at Staples Center, brought together in part by Kobe Bryant’s death. Bill Russell sat courtside in a white Bryant jersey — a winner of 11 Boston championships paying tribute to a Laker who split a pair of series with the Celtics. Kevin Garnett, one of Bryant’s fellow finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame, also sat courtside and joshed around with Rondo (his former teammate) during pregame warm-ups.Monday will be another tough day for the Lakers, who are expected to attend the Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant at Staples Center in the morning. Vogel said he would set aside game prep for the New Orleans Pelicans until Tuesday shootaround, giving the Lakers Monday to mourn.Bryant’s death has become a huge part of the Lakers’ season: James wore a bracelet with 2, 8 and 24 to represent Kobe’s and Gianna’s numbers, and Kobe’s No. 24 jersey hung in his locker. Other players throughout the Lakers’ locker room have arranged their own tributes. Davis said Monday’s event would honor Bryant in one way, but the rest of the season is a way to honor him as well.“Everytime we step on the floor, it’s, ‘How do we carry on his legacy?’” Davis said. “And tomorrow’s gonna be tough again, but we just gotta make sure we stay in the moment as well. When it’s time to grieve, we grieve, and when it’s time to line up between the lines and do what he would want us to do, then we have to do it.”center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThat’s how the best games of this series have been settled. Sunday offered a tightly contested match — with just enough controversy — to whet the appetite for more.The Celtics had the game’s leading scorer, a blistering Jayson Tatum who scored 36 of his 41 points in the second and third quarters. When he got rolling, he slithered around the defense to get to the rim or to the free throw line, or he stepped out to hit contested threes.Boston also had success defending Davis’ touches in the post, poking out the ball as he tried to drive in, or contesting his attempts at the rim. The Lakers’ big man was just 10 for 25 shooting from the floor on the night.But a strategy of double-teaming Tatum — Frank Vogel said it was similar to the principles they’ve used to guard James Harden — helped hold the third-year forward to just four points in the fourth quarter, and James and Davis helped will the team back. It helped also that the Lakers bench, led by 16 points from Kyle Kuzma, outscored their Celtic counterparts by 32 points.It came down to the last few possessions: Davis hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with two minutes to go, but Boston struck back with consecutive shots by Gordon Hayward (10 points, 9 assists) and Jaylen Brown (20 points) to lead by two. After James split a pair of free throws, the Lakers got the ball back after a lengthy review of an out-of-bounds call, and they were able to give James the ball on an isolation on the right wing against Brown, a capable defender.last_img read more