Lakers pull off NBA's most unlikely upset of season in Boston

LeBron James watches Thursday's Lakers-Celtics game in street clothes. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)
LeBron James watches Thursday’s Lakers-Celtics game in street clothes. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

The pregame injury report on Thursday looked like bad news for the Los Angeles Lakers.

But with All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis both sidelined for a showdown with the Celtics, Lakers role players delivered a stunning 114-105 upset in Boston.

The loss was just the third at home for the Celtics following a 22-2 start at TD Garden. It was also their third in the last two weeks since a franchise-best 20-0 start at home.

Austin Reaves delivered the offense for Los Angeles in a 32-effort that saw him hit a career-high seven 3-pointers. The Lakers defense, meanwhile, frustrated Boston’s All-Stars on a poor shooting night for both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

For a struggling Lakers team, it was an encouraging road victory over the Eastern Conference’s best first-half team on the fourth leg of a six-game road swing. They’re now 2-2 on the road trip after starting with a double-overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

The Lakers remain on the wrong side of the playoff picture with Thursday’s win improving their record to 25-25, good for ninth place in the West. Pressure remains high for Los Angeles to make a move before next week’s trade deadline. But they’re in better shape than anticipated on this road trip with the combined wins over Boston and Golden State.

The Lakers took control early while opening a 24-15 lead late in the first quarter that they extended to 60-46 at halftime. The Celtics cut their deficit to 98-88 to start the fourth quarter, but would never get closer than six points in the game’s final stanza.

While Reaves thrived from the floor on an 10-of-18 night (7 of 10 from 3) en route to his 32 points, Tatum required 21 shots to reach 23 points. The Celtics All-Star was strong from distance (5 of 10) but struggled from the floor overall (8 of 21). On the same day he was named an All-Star, Brown was largely a non-factor on the scoreboard while tallying eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He shot 4 of 12 from the floor and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.

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