The forward Gordon Hayward scored 25 points and the Boston Celtics easily beat the Golden State Warriors 119-104 on a night in which the tribute to former guard Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash last Sunday with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, grabbed the spotlight.
The Celtics and their homage to Kobe, daughter and all the deceased victims pic.twitter.com/wVBODEFNlJ
– NBA Spain (@NBAspain) January 31, 2020
Escort base Marcus Smart added 21 points, scoring 17 in the second half. In turn, forward Jayson Tatum, chosen for his first All-Star before the game, regained ownership after missing three games with a right groin strain. He finished with 20 points in 24 minutes and helped the Celtics achieve the fifth win in the last six games played.
Tatum, 21 and 333 days old, is the second youngest Celtics player selected for an All-Star game behind forward Antoine Walker, who was 153 days younger.
A follower of Bryant since he was a child, Tatum wore sneakers from Bryant’s Nike collection during pre-game warm-ups.
Escort D’Angelo Russell, with 22 points, led the Warriors, who lost their fifth straight game and forward guard Alec Burks scored reached 18 points.
The Celtics lost in the first minutes of the first quarter, but closed the last 5:48 of the period in a run of 18-7 that would make the difference in the final score. Boston led by up to 19 in the fourth period.
Although the Celtics had 23 turnovers
It was the first Celtics home game since Bryant passed away and before the match, Bryant’s No. 24 was lit with lights on the court when the Celtics fans joined the organization to honor him with 24 seconds of silence.
Then, after a tribute video that included images of current and former Celtics, the arena burst into cheers to greet the Lakers.
Bryant was an enemy of Boston for a long time in the rivalry between the Celtics and the Lakers, but any persistent resentment was put aside in the stadiums of the league when players and fans cried to the world star, who died at 41 years.