LeBron James will not be playing alongside Anthony Davis this season, but he does have a team that he is hoping can build on a big win over their long-time rivals.
Rajon Rondo on Thursday night hit a 20-foot jumper as time expired to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 129-128 victory over the Boston Celtics.
“I practice those shots all the time,” said Rondo, who hit his first career go-ahead field goal in the final 10 seconds of fourth quarter or overtime. “Couldn’t imagine it being in the Garden though... This is one I’ll be playing for the rest of my life.”
James had 28 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Kyle Kuzma added 25 points, while Rondo had 17 points and 10 assists to help Los Angeles bounce back after a 42-point loss at Indiana on Tuesday.
James is the third Lakers player with a triple-double in Boston, joining Magic Johnson and Elgin Baylor.
“I’m starting to get more and more back to myself,” James said. “Every possession, every quarter, every time I take a hit, I’m able to nudge it off and keep going. I’m working my way back and I’m getting better and better every single minute.”
Rondo was in the right place at the right time for his final shot against the team he won an NBA title with in 2008. Brandon Ingram had his layup attempt blocked by Al Horford, who whiffed on the rebound and the ball bounced into Rondo’s hands.
“I thought the basketball gods rewarded the right team,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Kyrie Irving led Boston with 24 points and eight assists. Jayson Tatum added 22 points and 10 rebounds. Daniel Theis had 20 points off the bench, but the Celtics had a five-game winning streak snapped.
It ended a wild, speculation-filled day in which the NBA’s trade deadline expired with one of the players potentially on the wish list of both the Lakers and Celtics staying with his current team.
“I’m happy to still be on the team,” said Tatum, whose name has been the subject of recent trade speculation. “I’m glad that it’s over with for now.”
Los Angeles attempted to put together a deal for Davis, but New Orleans held on to the All-Star, despite him saying that he would not sign an extension and wanted to be traded.
It means any potential suitors would have to wait until the summer to make a run at him.
The Lakers were not completely quiet on Thursday, trading Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac to the Clippers for Mike Muscala.
However, for now, James will have to go forward with most of a roster that improved to 2-2 since his return from a groin injury that kept him out of action a month.
In other games on Thursday, the Indiana Pacers crushed the Los Angeles Clippers 116-92, the Orlando Magic beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-112 and the Toronto Raptors overpowered the Atlanta Hawks 119-101.
Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 127-118 and the Oklahoma City Thunder pounded the Memphis Grizzlies 117-95.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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