Celtics win Wild One in OT after missing 20 points. lead to Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Another dramatic chapter was written in the long, checkered history of the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

The Celtics won 122-118 in overtime in a game Boston seemed to have nothing to lose — and after a wild comeback from LA, nothing to win either

Boston, led by Jayson Tatum’s 44 points, outplayed LA 12-8 in overtime to eke out the win.

“This game just says a lot about our experience and mental strength,” said Jaylen Brown, who added five of his 25 points in overtime. “This is a tough and perfect end to our road trip.”

The Lakers trailed the Celtics by as much as 20 points in the third quarter, but used an 18-0 run from the end of the third to the start of the fourth to take control, going as far as 13 with 4:25 left in the lead in regulation.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” said LeBron James. “We didn’t make it. But we loved our performance. I loved our tenacity in the second half and put us in a position to win a ball game against a great team.”

LA apparently had a chance to seal the win with Anthony Davis at the line 28 seconds and two points clear, but Davis – who was 11-13 on free throws at the time on the night – missed both of them.

“I didn’t think about the rest of the game,” said a dejected Davis after the loss. “Two free throws, four go up, different ball game. The rest doesn’t matter to me. Had a chance to spoil the game and missed both.”

The errors set up a binding pull-up jumper by Tatum with 17.1 seconds left. LA then worked down the clock to give James a potential winner at the buzzer, but his 3-point attempt didn’t go down.

Much like the Lakers’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last week, when LA endured a furious comeback to force overtime only to fall apart in the extra session, the Celtics broke up the game to end things.

“Games are not won or lost in the fourth quarter or overtime,” said Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla. “We have to be elite when it comes to managing the end of the third quarter, the beginning of the fourth quarter. That’s where NBA games are won and lost, and we didn’t manage that part of the game well. So we’re going to take the positives, like how we worked to get back in the game and then managed a run to finish it, but we’re also going to focus on that stretch.

Davis also missed a go-ahead free throw with 3.1 seconds left against Philadelphia, and he shouldered the blame for both losses.

“Boston are a great team. Philly is a great team. Two great teams in the East,” Davis said. “I had the chance as a team but I personally to kind of seal both games. I missed one in Philly, missed both tonight. Both led to defeats.”

Russell Westbrook (20 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks) scored the first four points in overtime to put LA 114-110 ahead, but the Lakers couldn’t keep the momentum going.

Davis finished with 37 points and 12 rebounds and James had 33 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham played Davis every 29 minutes in the second half and overtime, resting James for just 2 minutes and 28 seconds during that span.

Davis refused to use exhaustion as an excuse for his mistakes, but Ham said he should have worked in peace for the group he rode during the comeback.

“Strategically we’re trying to see how we can make good use of our downtime and give them breaks that way,” Ham said. “I could have done a better job in certain cases by using my downtime more quickly. But that’s up to me. I have to get better in that regard.”

The Celtics came into the night with an NBA-best 21-7 record but had lost back-to-back games, at the Golden State Warriors and at the LA Clippers.

“That’s a proud bunch over there,” Ham said of Boston before the game. “I believe with all my heart that they are not happy at all. Not only with the loss of the Clippers, but also with the loss before that against the Warriors. We know that we will have our hands full.”

It was the second time the Lakers lost a game this season by leading double digits with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. According to research from ESPN Stats & Information, the rest of the NBA has done so twice this season together.

Despite the clout of those results, Westbrook said there’s still cause for optimism in the dressing room.

“If you’re a competitor, you should believe,” Westbrook said. “But I can’t speak for everyone. I know for myself that as long as I am able to compete, God willing, I will do so until all is said and done. But I’m pretty sure the guys believe . It’s just about creating some consistency across the board.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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