Basketball

Irving scores 30 as Celtics close in on play-off spot

Kyrie Irving scored 30 points as the Boston Celtics overcame LeBron James' 80th career triple-double with a 120-107 victory over the injury-riddled Los Angeles Lakers yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris each scored 16 points for Boston, who are gaining traction in their post All-Star break play-off push.

Gordon Hayward added 15 points as the Celtics won their third consecutive game on a four-game California road trip that concludes against the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow.

The Celtics' latest match-up with their storied rivals didn't really live up to the history - the Lakers are struggling mightily and appear to have given up on any chance of making it to the NBA postseason.

Irving, who missed Wednesday's victory over the Sacramento Kings with a bruised thigh, nailed a series of clutch shots down the stretch. He also tallied seven rebounds and seven assists.

Irving and James are former teammates, winning an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

James can only dream of similar success with the Lakers, who have lost five straight.

He finished with 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, leading a rag-tag Lakers crew that was missing three starters - Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball (severely sprained left ankle) and Brandon Ingram (deep vein thrombosis clot in right shoulder).

The latter two are almost certainly out for the season. -AFP

OTHER RESULTS

Atlanta 112 Brooklyn 114, Milwaukee 131 Charlotte 114, Portland 127 Phoenix 120, Minnesota 135 Washington 130 (OT), New York 94 Sacramento 102.

Basketball