Los Angeles, CA — Winning ugly basketball games is not something the Celtics have had to do much this season. Tonight, however, was one of those games and Jayson Tatum led the team across the finish line when the game looked like it was in jeopardy.
The Boston Celtics scrapped their way to a 122-118 back ‘n forth victory in overtime over the rival Los Angeles Lakers to snap their 2-game losing streak and finish the road trip on a high note.
Jayson Tatum, the current betting favorite for Most Valuable Player, delivered a memorable performance that reminded people why he is a special talent. Fellow star Jaylen Brown chipped in with 25 points of his own as the Celtics’ star duo proved superior to Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
The Celtics led for much of this game, building an 88-74 lead with just under 3 minutes to play in the third quarter. Boston executed their halfcourt offense better than the Lakers and manufactured good looks from the perimeter.
However, for nearly a 7-minute stretch between the third and fourth quarters, the Lakers outscored the Celtics 18-0 as the crowd chanted M-V-P every time Lebron James or Anthony Davis would shoot free throws. Not until Tatum settled in and imposed his will did the Celtics regain their composure.
Trailing 92-88 out of a timeout, Tatum sized up Lebron James as he drove to his left and finished at the rim with ease. Tatum went on to score or assist on 11 of the Celtics’ final 18 points in regulation, including the game-tying fadeaway over James again, after Davis missed two critical free throws that could have sealed the game.
The Celtics benefitted from poor decision making by Russell Westbrook in overtime, narrowly escaping to close the road trip 4-2.
The Celtics will now come home to play a season-long 7-game homestand with only 2 games against teams above .500.