LeBron James Notches Triple-Double in Lakers Lopsided Loss to Boston Celtics

on Mar10
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Oh, what could have been.

Six months ago a late season matchup between longtime rivals the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers looked great on the NBA docket. 

The matchup of two of the NBA’s premier franchises was not just a big box office draw, but it could have been a potential NBA Finals preview after LeBron James joined the Lakers in the offseason.

Instead of the renewal of two old rivals, the matchup was a lopsided battle between two teams headed in different directions.

James recorded a triple-double, and Kyrie Irving scored 30 points, as the Boston Celtics blew out the Los Angeles Lakers, 120-107, on Saturday night at Staples Center. 

Nearly a decade ago, these two teams met in the NBA Finals, when Kobe Bryant triumphantly led the Lakers to a Game 7 victory over “The Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.

Despite being the most historic rivalry in the NBA, the two teams had trouble conjuring up the memories of NBA Finals of old. Mostly because the Lakers limped into the game bothered by a plethora of injuries.

The shorthanded Lakers were without Brandon Ingram (shoulder), Lonzo Ball (ankle), Kyle Kuzma (ankle), Lance Stephenson (illness), and Tyson Chandler (neck stiffness).

Meanwhile, Boston was back to full strength and appears poised to make a run at the Eastern Conference. After losing their first four games after the All-Star Break, the Celtics have cruised to victories in four of their last five including a blowout win over the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. 

The lackluster Lakers are headed in the opposite direction. Losers of five in a row, and seven of their last eight games, L.A. is close to entering the lottery, a prospect that everyone in the organization would have laughed at when James first announced he was coming to Tinseltown last July.

Before the game, Luke Walton and the Lakers announced James would be on a minutes restriction for the remainder of the season, so it was no surprise when he headed to the bench every time the Lakers got close.

Boston led by just one after the first quarter, but with James on the bench for most of the second, the Celtics took a 10-point lead into halftime. 

LeBron was back on the court to start the second half, and Los Angeles cut the Celtics lead to five points in the third quarter, but Walton sent LeBron back to the bench, and Boston’s lead immediately ballooned to 17 points by the end of the third quarter.

Irving, who could have been holding an audition for Lakers’ fans, led the Celtics with 30 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five three-pointers.

LeBron’s former teammate in Cleveland when the Cavaliers won the Finals in 2016, is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and after a rekindling of their friendship in 2018-2019, many believe that Kyrie could join the Lakers in free agency.

If he was auditioning, Irving certainly should get the part, as he singlehandedly dominated the Lakers during stretches throughout the game, proving why he’s one of the top ten players in the league. 

Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris each scored 16 points, and Gordan Hayward had 15 points off the bench. Six different players scored in double-figures for the Celtics.

James led the Lakers with a triple-double, scoring 30 points, dishing out 12 assists, and grabbing 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes of action.

Mo Wagner scored a career-high 22 points in his first start of the season, and Johnathan Williams had 18 points off the bench for L.A.

Notes and Next

Lonzo Ball (left ankle sprain), Kyle Kuzma (ankle sprain), Tyson Chandler (neck stiffness), Lance Stephenson (illness) and Brandon Ingram (shoulder) all missed the game due to injuries. 

The Lakers will travel to Chicago where they will take on the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night at 5:00PM PT.

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