Jayson Tatum erupts for 60 on Boston Celtics comeback; LeBron James returns for Los Angeles Lakers

Jayson Tatum exploded for 60 points to help the Boston Celtics overturn a 32-point deficit against the San Antonio Spurs, while LeBron James returned from a 20-game absence in the Los Angeles Lakers’ defeat to the Sacramento Kings.

Friday night’s NBA results

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Sacramento Kings 110-106 Los Angeles Lakers

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Terence Davis scored 10 fourth-quarter points as the visiting Sacramento Kings rallied for a 110-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, spoiling the return of LeBron James from injury.

The Lakers led by 10 points at the end of the third quarter, but the Kings outscored Los Angeles 32-18 in the fourth. Los Angeles had a chance to retake the lead late, only for James’ long 3-point attempt to bounce hard off the back of the rim with 2.7 seconds left. Sacramento’s Tyrese Haliburton subsequently sank two free throws to seal the outcome.

Haliburton paced the Kings with 23 points and 10 assists in the absence of De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes. Richaun Jones added 22 points and nine rebounds, and Davis had 15 points. The Lakers lost for the fifth time in six games.

James returned to the floor after missing 20 games due to a high ankle sprain suffered on March 20. At times, he looked as if he never left and eventually finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes.

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Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 22 points and 11 rebounds, Andre Drummond totaled 17 points, and Ben McLemore added 12 points off the bench, shooting 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. Alex Caruso missed his second game in a row for the Lakers with back spasms.

San Antonio Spurs 140-143 Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum scored a career-high 60 points, including four free throws in the final 12 seconds of overtime as the Boston Celtics came back from a 32-point, second-quarter deficit to beat the San Antonio Spurs 143-140 in a wild game on Friday.

Boston took their first lead since the game’s opening minutes, at 127-126, on Tatum’s 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining. Tatum, who tied Larry Bird for the most points in a game in Celtics’ history (March 12, 1985), then hit a free throw with 18.8 seconds to play to push the Celtics’ lead to two points.

The Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan re-tied the game with a pair of free throws with 10.8 left, giving Boston a final shot for a win in regulation, but Tatum missed a jumper at the buzzer.

The extra period went back and forth, with the Spurs taking the lead at 137-136 on a jumper by Lonnie Walker IV with 31.7 seconds left. Jaylen Brown canned a 3-pointer to put Boston on top with 16.7 seconds to play, and Marcus Smart stole San Antonio’s ensuing inbounds pass, setting the stage for Tatum’s free throws that capped the comeback win for the Celtics.

Brown added 17 points for the Celtics, Aaron Nesmith had 16 points, and Smart and Robert Williams III scored 10 apiece for Boston. Tristan Thompson took 15 rebounds and Smart had 12 assists. DeRozan led the Spurs with 30 points alongside 14 assists, tied for his career high, while Dejounte Murray and Walker added 24 points each, Rudy Gay had 16, and Jakob Poeltl racked up 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Portland Trail Blazers 128-109 Brooklyn Nets

Damian Lillard recorded 32 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a convincing 128-109 victory over the host Brooklyn Nets.

Jusuf Nurkic contributed 23 points and 11 rebounds as Portland improved to 3-0 on a six-game road trip. Lillard was eight of 13 from 3-point range for the Trail Blazers (35-28), who have notched the three victories by an average of 20.3 points.

Kyrie Irving scored 28 points for the Nets after sitting out Thursday’s 130-113 victory over the Indiana Pacers due to a groin injury. Brooklyn star Kevin Durant was held on the second end of a back-to-back despite matching his season high of 42 points versus the Pacers, while James Harden (hamstring) missed his 13th straight game.

Norman Powell added 19 points, Carmelo Anthony scored 15 and CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons had 10 points apiece as Portland moved within a half-game of the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference.

Jeff Green scored 16 points and Mike James added 15 for the Nets (43-21), who saw their Eastern Conference lead slip to a half-game over the Philadelphia 76ers. Joe Harris added 12 points and Blake Griffin scored 11 for Brooklyn, who shot 42.1 percent from the field and 13 of 41 from 3-point range.

Milwaukee Bucks 108-98 Chicago Bulls

Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton each scored 22 points as the Milwaukee Bucks earned a 108-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls without the services of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis added 16 points each, while Portis had 14 rebounds, as the Bucks found their defensive intensity with Antetokounmpo sitting out after he sprained his right ankle early in Thursday’s game against the Houston Rockets.

Coby White scored 21 points for the Bulls and Nikola Vucevic added 17 with 15 rebounds as Chicago, missing Lauri Markkanen and Cristiano Felicio due to non-COVID illnesses, lost for the ninth time in its last 13 games. Daniel Theis had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, while Tomas Satoransky had 13 points.

Milwaukee led by as many as 19 in the first half, although Chicago did come within a basket at 42-40 late in the second quarter before the Bucks took a 52-44 lead into the break.

Bryn Forbes had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who were never threatened in the second half. Milwaukee, also without Donte DiVincenzo (toe), continued its up-and-down play with a 7-7 record over their last 14 games.

Chicago sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, now three games behind the 10th-place Washington Wizards, who won against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, for the last eligible position for a spot in the postseason play-in tournament.

Utah Jazz 100-121 Phoenix Suns

Two days after earning their first playoff appearance in 11 years, the Phoenix Suns claimed a share of the best record in the NBA on Friday with a 121-100 win over the Utah Jazz.

Devin Booker led the way with 31 points as Phoenix dominated Utah in an outcome that resulted in both teams leaving with 45-18 records.

The Jazz didn’t just miss Donovan Mitchell (ankle) and Mike Conley (hamstring) – they also missed a lot of shots, hitting just 43.8 percent. The Suns meanwhile shot a blistering 54.5 percent.

Mikal Bridges scored 18 points, while Chris Paul (12 points, nine assists) and Deandre Ayton (11 points, nine rebounds) each had strong showings in limited action as the Suns won their third game in a row.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Utah with 22 points, but only three other players scored in double figures as the short-handed and slumping Jazz fell for the third time in four games.

The game was only close for half of the first quarter, during which Phoenix outscored Utah 39-23. They never looked back, leading by as many as 96-70 late in the third.

Atlanta Hawks 104-126 Philadelphia 76ers

Dwight Howard scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers dominated the visiting Atlanta Hawks for the second straight game, rolling to a 126-104 victory.

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris each scored 18 points for Philadelphia, who had seven players in double figures. Howard led with 19 points for the 76ers’ reserves, who totaled 60 points. Shake Milton scored 13, Furkan Korkmaz had 11 and Matisse Thybulle added 10.

The Hawks got leading scorer Trae Young back in the lineup after he missed four games with a sprained left ankle. Young showed no lingering effects and scored 32 points, his 18th game this season with 30-plus.

Danilo Gallinari came off the Atlanta bench to make four 3-pointers and score 16 points, Clint Capela played through left heel pain and had 11 points and 15 rebounds, Onyeka Okongwu finished with 12 points and John Collins had 11.

The Sixers outscored Atlanta 42-20 in the second period, led by as many as 21 and were up 65-46 at the half, before entering the fourth quarter with a 94-77 advantage.

Orlando Magic 75-92 Memphis Grizzlies

Dillon Brooks scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 92-75 win over the Orlando Magic.

Brooks’ three made 3-pointers in the second half and Jonas Valanciunas’ 14 points and 15 rebounds helped the Grizzlies (32-30) overcome a generally poor shooting performance (34.3 percent) and defeat the Magic (19-44) in the first of home-and-home games against Orlando on back-to-back nights.

Memphis, who hold the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, remained 2 1/2 games behind seventh-seeded Portland and three games behind sixth-seeded Dallas.

Cole Anthony and Mo Bamba each scored 15 points to lead Orlando, who lost for the seventh time in its past eight games. Bamba and Donta Hall each had 11 rebounds and R.J. Hampton finished with 11 points.

The Grizzlies used a 25-4 surge in the third quarter to break the game open and outscored Orlando 36-15 for the period.

In addition to already missing Devin Cannady (right ankle), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Markelle Fultz (left torn ACL), Jonathan Isaac (left knee) with long-term injuries, Chuma Okeke was out with a sprained left ankle and Terrence Ross sat out with back spasms. Otto Porter Jr. (left foot) also remained out.

Washington Wizards 122-93 Cleveland Cavaliers

Russell Westbrook recorded his 31st triple-double of the season with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Washington Wizards cruised to their 10th win in the past 11 games with a 122-93 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Seven Wizards scored in double figures, led by Bradley Beal with 19 points. Raul Neto scored 17 points and Rui Hachimura added 11 points. Daniel Gafford, Ish Smith and Anthony Gill paced Washington to 56 bench points with 13, 11 and 10. Smith also dished four assists and made three steals.

Westbrook, meanwhile, concluded a historic month with his 14th triple-double. He surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s previous record of 11 in a single month against San Antonio on Monday, and finished the month with three straight.

Friday’s win marked the 12th in Washington’s past 14 games, as the Wizards make a late push for the Eastern Conference playoffs. Their win at Cleveland pulled them to within a half-game of ninth-place Indiana.

Collin Sexton led all scorers with 22 points, but committed eight turnovers and shot just one of six from 3-point range. Jarrett Allen recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Darius Garland added 12 points and Cedi Osman scored 14 points off the bench for Cleveland. Kevin Love grabbed 10 rebounds, but did not attempt a field goal and finished scoreless.

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