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Nov 19, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dunks the ball during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Despite missing both Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams and facing a Lakers team that got LeBron James back in the lineup, the Boston Celtics exploded in the second half and won handily at TD Garden by a 130-108 final on Friday night. The Celts got back to .500, improving to 8-8 on the season, while the struggling Lakers fell to 8-9.

As was expected of him, Jayson Tatum led the way on the night with 37 points on an efficient 13-for-26 shooting. Tatum also led the Celtics with 11 rebounds. Marcus Smart and Dennis Schröder scored 22 and 21, respectively, to pick up the slack in Brown’s absence. Josh Richardson chipped in off the bench with 15 points and a team-best plus-27.

The Lakers got off to a quicker start and led by as much as seven early in the second quarter, but timely scoring by Tatum and Schröder got the C’s back in it. Tatum tied it at 58-58 with a steal and slam dunk going back the other way late in the second quarter, but the Lakers took a 61-60 lead to halftime.

It was in the third quarter that the Celtics took over. They went on a 29-13 run at one point, sparked by Smart scoring the first five points of the third. Tatum was the closer, netting 14 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter. Overall, the C’s outscored the Lakers 70-47 in the second half.

James scored 23 points on 10-for-16 from the field in his return to the Lakers lineup, his first game since Nov. 2. He’d missed the previous eight games with an abdominal injury.

The Celtics have to get right back to work on Saturday, but they’re still at home, with the Oklahoma City Thunder coming to TD Garden. You can hear the call of Saturday’s game on 105.7 WROR. Here’s the full on-air schedule for 98.5 The Sports Hub.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.