The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics, 114-112.
The Lakers struck first as LeBron James looked to attack the Celtics defense in transition, nailing a pull up three and putting pressure on their frontcourt. Los Angeles defensive effort was also impressive as they were able to pack the paint and force Boston into contested perimeter jump shots.
Los Angeles began to slow down on the offensive end as Boston’s wing players made it difficult to get any clean looks off, but were still able to maintain a slim lead. Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma sparked an 8-0 to close the quarter, giving the Lakers a 28-19 lead after one.
Rondo’s effort gave Los Angeles a lift to begin the second as he came up with a steal and then hit Kuzma on the fast break for an easy dunk. However, Jayson Tatum was difficult to guard as he was able to get to the rim and finish over the Lakers defense.
It was back and forth midway through the period as the Celtics found success driving in the paint while the Lakers answered from downtown. Boston’s frontcourt seemed to fluster Los Angeles, but some much-needed scoring from James gave the purple and gold a 56-54 advantage at halftime.
Los Angeles defense had no answers for Boston to begin the third as the latter was able to get almost any look they wanted, taking their first lead of the game in the process. The Lakers settled for poor attempts and their frustration with the officiating gave the Celtics all of the momentum.
The Lakers bench once again gave them a spark as Rondo and Kuzma helped the team chip away at the deficit. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Anthony Davis also made a couple plays in the final minutes of the quarter and Los Angeles and Boston went into fourth tied 87-87.
Dwight Howard gave the Lakers solid minutes as he was able to get free under the rim for a dunk and free throws. James also began to look for his shot, barreling to the rim and knocking down an open three to help get Los Angeles back on top.
It was a tight contest down the stretch as both teams did not give any ground on the defensive end and forced the other to work for their points. Davis and Jaylen Brown traded threes in the closing minutes, but a clutch fallaway jumper from James and free throws from Davis gave Los Angeles the tough-earned victory.