NBA highlights on Feb. 7: Rondo beats the buzzer at TD Garden for Lakers
Li Xiang

In one of the most eye-catching games of the 2018-19 NBA regular season on Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers claimed a close win against the Boston Celtics 129-128 at the TD Garden, thanks to a buzzer beater by Rojan Rondo.

Players of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after they defeat the Boston Celtics 129-128 on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo 

Players of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after they defeat the Boston Celtics 129-128 on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo 

LeBron James dropped the 77th triple-double of 28 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in his career. The other six players who scored for LA all put down double-digit points: Kyle Kuzma (25), Rajon Rondo (17), JaVale McGee (17), Brandon Ingram (11), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (17) and Lance Stephenson (14).

Though Kyrie Irving scored the highest (24 points), in addition to seven rebounds and eight assists for Boston, he only made six of 21 shots. Jason Tatum had a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Al Horford got 12 points and seven rebounds. Three backup players, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis and Terry Rozier did well by claiming respectively 18, 20 and 19 points.

Daniel Theis #27 of the Boston Celtics dunks in the game against the Lakers on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Daniel Theis #27 of the Boston Celtics dunks in the game against the Lakers on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

The game took place after the trade deadline for this season had passed, which meant that the purple and gold entered Boston's home court disappointed because they failed to get Anthony Davis, and shaken because about half of them were almost sent away.

On the opposite bench, the Celtics, although unable to gain much on the market, remained one of the best teams in the league and had enough chips to count on summer 2019 to chase Davis.

As a result, the Lakers were absent-minded in the first quarter and could have trailed more than 24-30 had the Celtics shot better. Such an awkward situation continued in the second quarter and led to an 18-point difference (41-59) with less than four minutes to go.

LeBron James of the Lakers handles the ball in the game against the Celtics on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

LeBron James of the Lakers handles the ball in the game against the Celtics on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

James patiently kept passing the ball to his open teammates. And tables turned when the Lakers began to find the hoop as they started to remember what correct play looked like: defense, transition, sharing the ball and scoring three-pointers.

Boston lost their momentum in offense and kept missing shots, committing turnovers. As the Lakers made nine of their 12 shots from the 3-pt line in the third quarter (four of them came from Kuzma), they turned the tide and led 99-93 before the fourth quarter.

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Celtics shoots in the game against the Lakers on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Celtics shoots in the game against the Lakers on February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Boston's bench players in the fourth quarter stood out as Rozier, Brown and Theis launched a 9-2 to help their team regain the lead (102-101). After that, the game fell into a stalemate. The Celtics were mostly leading but by no more than six points.

In the last 12 seconds, Irving made a layup to help Boston lead 128-127. Ingram took the Lakers' last chance in offense but his shot was blocked by Horford. When players of both teams were competing for the rebound in the paint, the ball somehow reached Rondo who then made a 0.6-second perimeter shot that he was never good at to help the purple and gold win the game.

Thursday's game showed how unpredictable destiny could be. Rondo was selected by Boston in the 2006 NBA Draft and together with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnet and Ray Allen, knocked out James and his Cleveland Cavaliers twice in the playoffs in 2008 and 2010. Then in 2011 and 2013, James returned the favor after he joined the Miami Heat. However, who would have thought that six years later, James and Rondo would defeat the Celtics on behalf of the Lakers thanks to a buzzer beater by Rondo?

Other games on Thursday included: (away teams come first)

Los Angeles Clippers 92-116 Indiana Pacers

Minnesota Timberwolves 112-122 Orlando Magic

Toronto Raptors 119-101 Atlanta Hawks

Memphis Grizzlies 95-117 Oklahoma City Thunder

San Antonio Spurs 118-127 Portland Trail Blazers