Kyrie Irving can only complain to LeBron James after this latest loss to the Lakers


LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had a triple-double in less than 28 minutes, but that was not enough for his Los Angeles Lakers patchwork to be competitive against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics.

Irving was the main reason for this disappointment during a fairly predictable chapter of this legendary rivalry between two franchises going in opposite directions.

Irving scored 30 points and Marcus Smart scored 16 goals in the Celtics 120-107 win over the Lakers on Saturday night, propelling Boston for a third consecutive victory on his California trip.

"I feel for him," said Irving, citing the Lakers' wounds around James. "LeBron has always been a contender for the championship. Not to qualify for the series is difficult. I can only imagine. "

Irving did not play in the playoffs with the Cleveland Cavaliers before James returned for the 2014-15 season. He can do more than imagined. But qualifying for the playoffs will not be a problem for his Celtics, whose regular season has peaked on the West Coast on a strong trip that ends Monday against the Clippers.

"What happens in the regular season, we hardly remember it in the playoffs," said Irving with a shrug.

Boston was challenged as James made his 80th career trio in a Lakers fortunate formation, missing the three injured starters, but Irving managed a series of big shots to seal him. After missing Wednesday's win in Sacramento with a bruised thigh, Irving added seven rebounds and seven assists.

Marcus Morris had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, and Gordon Hayward added 15 points.

"I think we're on the right track," Hayward said. "Certainly, winning three times in a row helps that. We can certainly improve too. We just want to play our best basketball in the playoffs. "

James had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in his seventh triple-double for the Lakers, who lost five straight games in a playoff pursuit that seems futile at the moment.

"I liked the way we played," said James. "I thought we shared the ball. I thought we were defending them for the majority of the match. It's a very good team there. Their hopes are very, very great in the Eastern Conference. "

Rajon Rondo, who beat his former Boston player last month, recorded four points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Lakers.

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