LeBron James Scores 23 in Return from Injury as Lakers Lose to Celtics 130-108

Erin WalshNovember 20, 2021

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum (0) goes up to shoot against Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Boston Celtics bounced back from a 110-99 loss to the Atlanta Hawks with a 130-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at TD Garden, spoiling LeBron James' return to the lineup after an extended absence due to an abdominal injury. 

Boston moved to 8-8 on the season with the win, while the Lakers dropped below .500 at 8-9. 


Notable Stats

Jayson Tatum, SF, BOS: 37 PTS, 11 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 1 BLK

Anthony Davis, PF, LAL: 31 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 3 BLK

Marcus Smart, PG, BOS: 22 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL

LeBron James, SF, LAL: 23 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL


Jayson Tatum Dominant in Win

Despite a slow start to the year, it should come as no surprise to say Tatum had a dominant performance against the Lakers on Friday. It was his second straight game with at least 34 points after he put up that number against the Hawks on Wednesday.

However, Tatum got out to a rough start in the first quarter, recording just three points on 1-of-5 shooting and one rebound. In the second quarter, though, he started to catch fire, putting up 14 points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals.

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The 23-year-old added 20 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal after the half to power the Celtics past the Lakers. It was arguably his most impressive performance of the season.

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Tatum entered the game averaging 24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from deep.

Dennis Schroder and Marcus Smart combined for 43 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. What's even more impressive is that the C's took down the Lakers without Jaylen Brown, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

While Boston has been inconsistent this season, Friday's win could fuel the team's confidence as it looks to climb in the Eastern Conference standings.


LeBron James Impressive in Return from Injury Despite Loss

James missed L.A.'s last eight games with an abdominal strain. That didn't slow him down, though, as he kicked off the first quarter in impressive fashion.

James opened up the first with seven points on 3-of-3 shooting, one rebound, one assist and a steal. A highlight from the opening quarter was Talen Horton-Tucker's bounce pass by Grant Williams to hit James in stride for the dunk.

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James recorded six points, two rebounds and another steal in the second quarter before tacking on another four points just after halftime.

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However, the four-time NBA champion finished the fourth quarter with just six points and two rebounds as the Lakers offense struggled. 

Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook helped put up points, reaching double digits; however, L.A.'s two other starters—Horton-Tucker and Avery Bradley—combined for just eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Only one bench player (Carmelo Anthony) scored at least 10 points.

Despite the loss, just getting James back into the lineup will help the Lakers as they continue to build chemistry among their new-look roster.

If they want to go on a run this season, the Lakers will have to find a way to take some of the burden off James, Davis and Westbrook.


What's Next?

The Celtics host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, while the Lakers won't play again until Sunday when they visit the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.