Anthony Davis had 27 points and 14 rebounds in his return from a quad injury, LeBron James scored 21 and the Los Angeles Lakers survived a late rally by the host Boston Celtics to win 96-95 Saturday night.
Kemba Walker missed what would have been a game-winning shot for the Celtics with 2.7 seconds left, and Daniel Theis whiffed on the follow up as the Lakers avoided blowing a seven-point lead with 1:40 remaining.
Montrezl Harrell added 16 points for Los Angeles, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Davis had missed the team’s matchup in Detroit two nights prior.
Jayson Tatum had 30 points and Jaylen Brown scored 28 for Boston, which lost for the fifth time in its last seven games.
A Dennis Schroder three-point play put the Lakers ahead 96-89, but two Walker free throws and back-to-back buckets from Tatum got the Celtics within one with 32.8 seconds to go.
Walker blocked a shot by Davis with 10.8 seconds remaining but couldn’t convert on the other end to seal the result.
The Lakers scored eight unanswered to begin the fourth quarter, surging ahead 79-78. During the run, Celtics guard Marcus Smart strained his left calf while defending Harrell underneath the rim. Smart received assistance in heading to the locker room and did not return. He reportedly will have an MRI on Sunday.
Minutes later, on a Brown layup to put Boston ahead 83-81, Davis took an elbow to the groin and hit the court. The big man stayed in the contest after a timeout, his jumper with 6:12 to go tying the game at 85.
Neither team led by more than three in the third until Boston ended the period with an 8-1 stretch, entering the fourth up 78-71.
The first half was tight to start until the Lakers used a 9-1 run in the second for the game’s first double-digit lead at 41-31. The Celtics battled back, knotting the score at 47 on a 3-pointer by Brown with 1:47 left.
James completed a three-point play with 7.1 ticks remaining for a 52-49 Los Angeles lead at the break.
The Lakers led 28-24 after one.