NBA

Celtics triumph in back-and-forth blockbuster against Lakers, Bucks win potential Finals preview

By Sports Desk December 14, 2022

The Boston Celtics survived an almighty fourth-quarter collapse to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 122-118 in overtime on Tuesday.

Boston controlled the first half on the road, building a 65-50 advantage at the long break, but after reaching an 88-74 lead with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, everything began to fall apart for the visitors.

From that point on, the Lakers launched a 32-5 run to take a 106-93 lead with four minutes to play, but then it was the home side's turn to go into their shell, allowing the Celtics to storm back with a 17-4 run.

Anthony Davis had two free throws with 28 seconds on the clock, leading by two, but missed both. Jayson Tatum capitalised and tied the game with a contested mid-range jumper over LeBron James, before the four-time NBA MVP's potential game-winner was way off.

The Lakers had nothing to offer in overtime, scoring only four points in the first four minutes to allow the Celtics to build a game-winning lead.

It was a crucial win for the Celtics to snap a two-game losing skid, improving their league-best record to 22-7 and retaining bragging rights over their long-time rivals.

Tatum was the deciding factor, scoring a game-high 44 points on 15-of-29 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists, while running-mate Jaylen Brown chipped in 25 points (10-of-21) and 15 rebounds.

Both Lakers stars delivered, with Davis' 37 points and 12 rebounds continuing his MVP-calibre season, while James had 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Portis pulverises the Warriors

All-NBA Milwaukee Bucks duo Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton combined for 50 points, but it was Bobby Portis off the bench producing the best performance in his side's 128-111 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Portis had his best game of the season with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting and 11 rebounds, while two-time MVP Antetokounmpo had 30 points on poor efficiency (nine-of-26 shooting), 12 rebounds and five assists.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 20 points (six-of-17), but it was not nearly enough to stop his side from taking their third loss from their past four outings, and dropping their road record to 2-12.

The Bucks have now won eight of their past 10 to improve their record to 20-7, and they are 13-3 at home.

Giant-killing Rockets take another scalp

After knocking off the Bucks in their last game, the Houston Rockets collected another big scalp with a 111-97 triumph over the Phoenix Suns.

The Rockets were led by second-year scoring sensation Jalen Green, who had 26 points on seven-of-17 shooting – hitting 11-of-12 free throws – to raise his team-high average to 21.8 per game.

Third overall draft pick Jabari Smith Jr continued to impress, only attempting five total shots, but finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds, hitting all three of his three-pointers. The six-foot-11 wing is hitting a respectable 36.8 per cent of his threes on a healthy 5.8 attempts per game.

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