Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lakers 101 - Celtics 92: LA beats Boston at Staples Center

Los Angeles - Another former Celtic decided to put the kabosh on a possible road win for Boston.

This time it was MarShon Brooks, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers add another chapter to their historic rivalry with the Celtics by beating them 101-92 at the Staples Center last night.

It was Brooks and Kent Bazemore's debut with the purple and gold who both came over from the Warriors in exchange for Steve Blake this past Wednesday night. Bazemore added 15 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the final 4:20 as Boston was outscored 38-18 in the last period to seal the win. They helped snap a franchise record eight consecutive home losses.

"Me and Kent just wanted to come out here and play with some energy," said Brooks. "I was tired -- real tired. But D'Antoni gives you that confidence and he let's you go out there and play your game. So I felt free doing that. We played real good defense, forced some turnovers and that really got us going in the fourth."

The Lakers were without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young and Xavier Henry, but had six players in double figures. Pau Gasol returned to the lineup after being sidelined since January 31. He missed seven games with a groin strain and added 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Jeff Green led all scorers with 21 points despite playing 33 minutes, because of foul trouble for the Celtics. Brandon Bass scored 20 points, while Rajon Rondo had 11 assists, six points and six rebounds.

Jared Sullinger registered another double-double with 12-12 and Gerald Wallace got another start at the two for the injured Bradley, chipped in with 12 points and seven-boards.The Celtics had pretty much lead through the first 36 minutes of the game. Their biggest lead came at the 2:48 mark when they were up 72-59 and were in the middle of a 12-2 run capped by a Bass dunk.

The fourth began with a 13-2 Lakers run of their own including Brooks' six straight points and a fast-break dunk off a steal from Jerryd Bayless that ended with a MarShon stare down at the Celtics bench and the game was all knotted up at 76 with 9:15 remaining. Los Angeles scored 16 of the game's next 23 points to go up by nine and never looked back. Boston was unable to stage a comeback.

"MarShon can score and get going," Stevens said. "As difficult as change is sometimes, it's also an opportunity - Brooks and Bazemore both took great advantage of that opportunity today."

Boston dealt Brooks to the Warriors on January 15 along with Jordan Crawford in a three-team trade that brought Joel Anthony to the Celtics. Brooks is currently playing on his fourth team in seven months. He was all smiles last night even though it hasn't been the best season for the young guard. But don't ask him if he feels any hate towards the Celtics.

"You know what, man? A lot of people think I should be mad at the Boston Celtics. But I guarantee you, no one happier for me than coach Brad Stevens and assistant coach Jay Larranga," Brooks said. "They've seen all the work I've put in, and it's paid off."

Boston, who finished the night shooting just 39-percent (Lakers shot 48 percent), is currently 0-2 on their west coast trip. They head to Sacramento tomorrow night to take on the Kings.

Rondo will not be in the lineup, he is still not playing back-to-back games yet. The Celtics' record is 2-10 since the return of their point guard. More than likely Phil Pressey will get his fourth start of the season. Tip-off is at 10:00 PM and you can catch the game on NBATV.

Game Notes:
Celtics (19-37) are 7-23 since December 21, while the Lakers (19-36) are 6-23 since December 18. They have the worst combined winning percentage since the rivalry began in 1948-49. Only once have the both teams missed the playoffs in the same season, that was 1993-94. Robert Parish's last year with the Celtics and James Worthy's final NBA season.

Joel Pavón

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