Brooks, Bazemore Make Lakers Debut In Comeback Win Over Celtics 101-92
Bryant still has pain, swelling and soreness in his knee and will be re-evaluated in three weeks
LOS ANGELES (AP) — MarShon Brooks made his Lakers debut in style, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter against his former club and leading Los Angeles to a 101-92 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night to help snap a franchise-record eight-game home losing streak.
Kent Bazemore also played his first game for the Lakers two nights after he and Brooks were acquired from the Golden State Warriors for Steve Blake. Bazemore had 15 points, including a pair of clutch 3-pointers less than 2 minutes apart during the final 4:20 as Los Angeles outscored Boston 38-18 in the final period.
Pau Gasol had 16 points and seven rebounds in his first game since Jan. 31 after missing seven games with a groin strain. But teammates Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Xavier Henry and Nick Young were still among the walking wounded. Wesley Johnson, who scored a team-high 24 points in the Lakers’ 134-108 loss to Houston on Wednesday, was 0 for 4 during his 23 minutes on the court and made one free throw.
Jeff Green scored 21 points during a foul-plagued 33 minutes for the Celtics, who blew a 13-point third-quarter lead en route to their eighth loss in their last 11 games against the Lakers at Staples Center. Brandon Bass had 20 points.
Rajon Rondo had 11 assists, six points and six rebounds. The four-time All-Star point guard, who tore the ACL in his right knee almost 13 months ago, is averaging 10.2 points and 7.7 assists in 12 games since his return to the lineup on Jan. 17. The Celtics have lost 10 of them.
The Celtics pulled away to a 72-59 lead with 2:48 left in the third quarter, their largest lead to that point, with a 12-2 run capped by Brandon Bass’ dunk. But the Lakers opened the fourth with a 13-2 surge, which Brooks helped fuel with eight points, including a fast-break dunk that tied it at 76 with 9:15 to play after he stole the ball from Jerryd Bayless.
The two storied franchises have combined to win 32 championships and have met each other in the finals 12 times — most recently in 2010, when the Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games and avenged Boston’s six-game triumph over them two years earlier.
But both teams have experienced a severe reversal of fortune. The Lakers (19-36) are 6-23 since Dec. 21, and the Celtics (19-37) are 7-23 since Dec. 18. Their combined winning percentage of .342 is the lowest since the rivalry began in 1948-49.
Lakers players have missed a combined total of 200 games because of injuries, forcing coach Mike D’Antoni to employ 28 different starting lineups — and six different players at the starting point guard spot. Bryant has played in only six games due to his slow recovery from a torn Achilles tendon last April, and a fracture in his left knee that occurred on Dec. 17.
Rondo missed Boston’s first 40 games, after the Celtics lost Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to free agency over the summer — and coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers.
Only once have the Celtics and Lakers missed the playoffs in the same season. That was 1993-94, Robert Parish’s final season in Boston and Laker great James Worthy’s final season in the NBA. Friday was just the fourth time since the Lakers relocated from Minneapolis in 1960-61 that they hosted the Celtics when both teams had losing records. The last time was Feb. 27, 1994, at the Forum, when Boston came in 20-34 and Los Angeles was 19-33. It also happened on Dec. 18, 1977 and Dec. 28, 1969.
NOTES: Lakers team physician Stephen Lombardo examined Bryant, Henry and Young at halftime. Bryant still has pain, swelling and soreness in his knee and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Henry has been given clearance to resume basketball activities on Saturday, and Young got the green light to play Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets. … The last time these teams met, the Celtics had a season-high 34 assists and a season-low eight turnovers. Young missed that game because of a one-game suspension he received for shoving Alex Len and throwing a punch at Goran Dragic during a loss at Phoenix. … The Lakers are Brooks’ fifth NBA club and third this season. He played 10 games with the Celtics this season before he was dealt to the Warriors on Jan. 15 in a three-team trade that brought Joel Anthony to Boston.