LeBron is back, but it’s Tatum’s show: here’s how he overwhelmed the Lakers

The Boston star puts in 37 points and the Celtics beat the eternal rivals 130-108. For James the first game after 8 games of absence

“This is special,” Jayson Tatum exclaims. Celtics-Lakers is never a match like any other. Not even in 2021, when the two most successful teams in NBA history have not met at the Finals for 11 years. This is the Celtics-Lakers of LeBron James’ return after 8 games of absence due to an abdominal injury. This is Tatum’s Celtics-Lakers, who with 37 points of which 14 in the fourth period signs the huge success in Boston, 130-108, which the 19,156 of the TD Garden greet with the traditional “Beat LA”, part of tradition as much as Bill Russell ( sitting on the sidelines) and Jerry West, as much as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, as much as Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant.

The return

“I felt ok – James says of his comeback with 23 points and 6 rebounds in 32 ‘-. I was out for 2 and a half weeks but I felt almost like I was debuting, excited. I was happy, physically I was fine because I realized that I could trust my body again. But we will see how I will be when I wake up ”. The Lakers have lost their third game in a row and are now traveling with 8 wins and 9 losses, but no one cares yet. The Lakers with LeBron are a different team, but one that has yet to find their identity. And on the pitch it has been seen: Anthony Davis finished with 31 points but put 15 in the first quarter, inexorably decreasing his effectiveness; Westbrook, who was returning from his best game with the Lakers, took a step back and finished with 12 points and 6 assists. “Our main problem is defense – AD says -. We lack commitment and communication, but we need to improve because we have great defenders and we can be elite ”. In Boston they weren’t: for the 130 points collected, for the 51-33 rebound, for the inability to stem the unleashed Tatum. The Lakers in the first quarter, in which they were up by 14, showed what they can be: a devastating team. But one who has not yet figured out how to do it.

The explosion

Tatum is the main reason for the success of Boston (8-8). He played as a phenomenon, irrepressible in the second and fourth period, he played as a leader. “It’s been a tough season but I’ve never doubted myself thanks to my teammates who make me feel their confidence,” he said. Difficult not to have it in a player with so much talent, capable of making a basket in every way and dragging the team with him. This victory is not just his merit. The Celtics, reborn with 6 victories in the last 9 games after the slow start, prevailed with the defense, which conceded just 44 points to the Lakers in the two center quarters after the 38 in the first period. “I like where we are going – says coach Udoka of the Celtics moment -. We are improving in defense, which must be our strong point. And we are also growing in attack ”. Boston closed with 5 players in double figures: in addition to Tatum, Marcus Smart (22 points and 6 assists) and Dennis Schröder (21 and 6) also very well won the duel between backcourt. Al Horford (18 points and 4 rebounds) showed he still knows how to do it. Waiting for Jaylen Brown, who paws after 7 pit races, Boston really seems on the right track.

The match

The Lakers are a cyclone at the start thanks to Davis, who puts 15 points in the first quarter, including the dunk of 32-18 at 2’46 “from the siren. Boston recomposes itself in the second quarter, when Tatum with 12 points starts his show and signs the overtaking at 49-48. Melo’s talent, however, sends the Lakers into the locker room ahead 61-60. Smart begins the recovery with nails, the guests swerve and Boston bites, closing at 93-82 and then extending up to 116-99 which Tatum signs with 5 ‘from the end. The rest is garbage time, good for “Beat LA” to fill the air of the TD Garden again like when the Celtics-Lakers was worth the ring.

Boston:Tatum 37 (9/17 from two, 4/9 from three, 7/7 free throws), Smart 22, Schröder 21. Bounces: Tatum 11. Assist: Smart 6, Schröder 6.

LA Lakers:Davis 31 (12/18, 0/3, 7/9 tl), James 23, Anthony 13. Rimbalzi: James 6, Davis 6. Assist: Westbrook 6.

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LeBron is back, but it’s Tatum’s show: here’s how he overwhelmed the Lakers

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