LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and Marcus Smart had 16 in the Boston Celtics’ 120-107 victory over the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night in the latest edition of this storied NBA rivalry.
Marcus Morris had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Gordon Hayward added 15 points as the Celtics continued to gather momentum for the postseason with their third consecutive win on a four-game California trip that concludes Monday against the Clippers.
Boston was challenged while LeBron James put up his 80th career triple-double in a patchwork Lakers lineup missing three injured starters, but Irving hit a series of big shots down the stretch to seal it. After missing Wednesday’s win at Sacramento with a bruised thigh, Irving added seven rebounds and seven assists against his famous teammate on the championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
James had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in his seventh triple-double for the Lakers, who have lost five straight in a playoff chase that looks futile at this point.
The Lakers played without Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma after receiving another round of discouraging injury news before the game. Ingram was ruled out for the season with a blood clot in his upper body , a potentially serious problem.
Kuzma also wasn’t ready to return from the sprained ankle that sidelined him for a second straight game, and Ball is likely to be shut down for the rest of the season soon with a sprained ankle that hasn’t improved enough since he was injured Jan. 19. Ball has missed big chunks of his first two NBA seasons due to injuries.
Combined with coach Luke Walton’s decision to closely monitor James’ minutes over the final month, the 10th-place Lakers are already looking toward the summer and LeBron’s second season in Hollywood.
Rookie Moe Wagner scored a career-high 22 points in his first start for Los Angeles, which has lost nine of 11 overall.
Johnathan Williams added career bests of 18 points and 10 rebounds in the undrafted rookie from Gonzaga’s ninth appearance for the Lakers, who will get plenty of chances to show off the franchise’s impressive acumen in scouting and personnel development down the stretch of another lost season.
Rajon Rondo, whose buzzer-beating jumper beat his former team in Boston last month, had four points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Lakers.
Celtics: Boston shot 51.6 percent and his 14 3-pointers. ... Al Horford and Terry Rozier added 10 points apiece.
Lakers: LA was 5-for-27 on 3-pointers, including 1-for-5 by James. ... Lance Stephenson also sat out for the fourth time in five games to rest his sprained toe. ... James, Ingram and Ball have played together in only 23 games this season, and the Lakers went 15-8.
Celtics: At Clippers on Monday night.
Lakers: At Chicago on Tuesday night.
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