Rajon Rondo returned to haunt the Boston Celtics with a game-winning buzzer-beater as the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from a thrashing to score a dramatic 129-128 victory yesterday.
A roller coaster battle at the TD Garden Arena was settled in the final seconds when Rondo's fadeaway jump shot dropped into the hoop to silence a raucous Boston crowd.
It was a bittersweet moment for Rondo, who launched his career with the Celtics and spent eight seasons in Boston before leaving in 2014.
The 32-year-old, a key member of Boston's 2008 NBA Championship-winning team, finished with 17 points. "I couldn't picture it being this sweet coming back, where it all started, our team struggling right now," Rondo said. "Hopefully this will give us confidence."
The win came just two days after the Lakers and LeBron James suffered a humiliating 42-point defeat to the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics rallied in the final quarter however and looked to have snatched a win when Kyrie Irving's banked one in to make 128-127 with 11 seconds left.
But Rondo's late jumper sealed a morale-boosting win for the Lakers. While Rondo's scored the winning points, the Lakers were hauled into contention with a towering performance from James, who led the scoring with 28 points and added 12 rebounds and 12 assists for a triple double.
James' former Cleveland team-mate Irving led the scoring for Boston with 24 points.
Elsewhere, Pascal Siakam piled on 33 points, 14 rebounds and four assists to lead Toronto to a comfortable 119-101 win over the Atlanta Hawks. With Kawhi Leonard ruled out through injury, Siakam stepped up to lead the offensive scoring for the Raptors, who improved to 40-16 with the win.
In Oklahoma City, triple-double king Russell Westbrook delivered once again to give the Thunder ad convincing 117-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Westbrook finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists while Paul George led the scoring with 27 points. Six Thunder players finished with double-digit points tallies.*AFP
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