Final, Lakers win 101-92: MarShon Brooks never showed the commitment to warrant much playing time as a member of the Boston Celtics. With his former team in town, he came out hungry and buried them.
Brooks scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers (19-36) wiped out a 13-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics (19-37). The Lakers’ balanced scoring attack overcame Jeff Green’s game-high 21 points. The Lakers had six players score in double figures but none with more than 16 points.
The Celtics’ player of the game was Brandon “Trade Bait” Bass, who recorded 20 points and eight rebounds, and was one of the few Celtics who didn’t fall apart down the stretch. Jared Sullinger also posted a workmanlike 12 points and 12 boards.
The disparity in bench production was huge. The Lakers’ bench outscored the Celtics’ bench 63-21.
Fourth quarter, :36.9, Lakers 99-92: Brad Stevens is the holder of boundless optimism. A prayer three by Green cuts the deficit to seven and the Celtics corral the rebound of a bricked trey by Jordan Farmar. Stevens wants a timeout to try to cut this thing to four at best. The man still believes.
Fourth quarter, 2:54, Lakers 92-85: The spurt-prone Lakers have hit one of their dry patches, but the Celtics can’t seem to respond on their own offensive end. Chris Kaman hit a baseline jumper to keep Boston at bay after a Sullinger tip in, but things have slowed down considerably in the last two minutes.
Fourth quarter, 4:18, Lakers 90-83: Rondo is going to a man he trusts, connecting with Bass on consecutive pick-and-pops for midrange jumpers. But the Lakers are playing with a lot of fire. Bazemore confidently stroked a corner triple to extend L.A.’s lead to seven points, its largest of the game.
Brooks has scored 10 points in this quarter. The Celtics have scored nine.
Fourth quarter, 6:13, Lakers 82-79: We all knew Brooks could score, but he’s doing other things now to keep his team rolling. He hit the deck for a loose ball, then stepped in to steal a pass from Wallace to Sully under the hoop.
Brooks’ offense and hustle, combined with Jordan Hill’s defense at the rim — he’s rejected the Celtics’ last two shots — has moved the Lakers into the lead.
Fourth quarter, 9:14, game tied 76-76: MarShon Brooks couldn’t crack the rotation in Boston, but he just dunked to complete a 13-point comeback by the Lakers to knot up the score.
The Lakers have outscored the Celtics 13-2 over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to wipe out Boston’s 11-point edge entering the frame. Brooks has 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting, showing the offensive explosiveness everyone always knew he possessed.
End of third quarter, Celtics 74-63: It took roughly 11 days, but Kelly Olynyk pulled off a nice drive and fake-dish into a finger-roll layup. How he managed to get from the 3-point line to the hoop without the 24-second shot clock expiring, we’ll never know.
All kidding aside, Olynyk and the Celtics are picking apart the hapless Los Angeles defense now. They have led by as many as 13 points and D’Antoni may have thrown in the towel with a bench unit leaning on Kent Bazemore as the No. 1 scoring option.
Third quarter, 2:48, Celtics 70-59: Brandon Bass has no scruples. He wasn’t traded, despite loud calls from fans for Ainge to do so, and now he’s helped Boston extend its lead to a game-high 11 points. At this rate, the Celtics will never be able to stink enough to get the No. 1 pick.
Bass hasn’t had his shooting touch tonight, but he’s gotten 12 points and six boards off almost pure hustle. He’s given the Celtics a boost here in the third quarter, just when it looked like the Lakers might make it interesting.
Third quarter, 7:23, Celtics 58-55: Jeff Green got poked in the eye near midcourt, which is more contact than there was for most of the first half. The damage doesn’t look to be too bad, so as long as the Celtics can find a way to stop Pau Gasol, who finally looks ready to dominate Jared Sullinger the way he can, they should be OK.
Halftime, Celtics 46-44: Rajon Rondo ended the first half ugly, but overall the Celtics played the first half pretty.
Jeff Green cooled off after his 11-point start, failing to score another point the rest of the way, but the Celtics are dribbling and dishing against the Lakers’ nonexistent defense. They have 13 assists on 20 field goals and just seven turnovers so far, while the Lakers have committed 10 turnovers against just nine assists.
If Rondo hadn’t fumbled the ball on the last two possessions of the half, those numbers — and the score — could look even more favorable for Boston.
Pau Gasol has had some pretty favorable matchups against Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, but he hasn’t capitalized as often as he could. Gasol has 10 points on seven shots, far fewer than he should be taking against shorter and less-experienced defenders.
Except somebody to heat up in the second half. The Celtics are 2-for-11 from deep; the Lakers are 2-for-10. Eventually, somebody’s going to find his stroke. Our money’s on Chris Johnson, who has uncharacteristically missed two wide-open 3-point looks.
Second quarter, 3:07, Celtics 44-36: Jeff Green is driving and dishing, Kris Humphries is spinning to the hoop and dunking and Gerald Wallace is actually taking open shots when he gets them.
Who are these guys?
Well, they’re the same Celtics we know and maybe love, but the difference is, they’re playing against the defensively challenged Lakers. Mike D’Antoni’s squads never met a shot they didn’t like — even if those shots belong to the other team.
Second quarter, 5:59, Celtics 40-32: Gerald Wallace is running the show, even with Rondo returning to the court. Only Wallace is distributing from the post, not from the point.
Wallace has been matched up with a smaller defender since tip-off, taking Jodie Meeks and now MarShon Brooks into the post. He’s only gotten one bucket of his own, but he’s passed well from there and has two assists already.
He should have three assists, but Chris Johnson missed a wide-open 3-pointer on a cross-court skip by Wallace. C.J. made up for it with a layup after cutting underneath the hoop and getting a dish from Wallace.
Second quarter, 8:17, Celtics 34-28: Things got a little stagnant to begin the second quarter, but Phil Pressey has picked things up. The rookie point guard stepped behind a Jared Sullinger screen to drill an 18-footer, then whipped a pretty pass through the defense to Kris Humphries, who was fouled attempting a dunk.
Chris Kaman has had a little too much success against Kelly Olynyk than Kaman should have against any defender. Kaman the Caveman has six points and three boards in just eight minutes, although his footwork in the post is fishy, to say the least.
End of first quarter, Celtics 28-19: An old friend takes the court at Staples Center. MarShon Brooks, formerly of the Golden State Warriors, formerly of the Boston Celtics, formerly of Providence College, got something in the first quarter he didn’t get a lot of in Boston: playing time.
Brooks was on the court for two relatively quiet minutes, which made him fit right in with the rest of his team. The Lakers have watched Jeff Green go off early and the Celtics pass the ball around like Harlem Globetrotters. One particularly pretty sequence ended with a dunk by Brandon Bass off a tip-pass by Kelly Olynyk.
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Beautiful team passing by the C's - twitpic.com/dw9kw4—
Jay O (@MrTrpleDouble10) February 22, 2014
First quarter, 5:15, Celtics 19-15: The Celtics appear to have made a major move at the trade deadline after all. They got this guy named Jeff Green, who is an absolute stud. Nice pickup for Danny Ainge.
Green’s not really a new player, of course, but he’s playing like a different player so far tonight. He outscored the Lakers 11-10 in the early going, scoring Boston’s first 11 points.
If Green keeps this up, he would be the best trade deadline pickup that wasn’t.
10:02 p.m.: The Celtics squad that takes the floor at Staples Center tonight will look familiar to fans. A sizable subset of those fans might not be too happy about that.
Danny Ainge’s failure to make even one minor cost-cutting move before Thursday’s trade deadline has irked some observers, who hoped the Celtics president of basketball operations would make some sort of move. Perhaps Ainge could have shed some salary, added a draft pick or nabbed a future star to build for the future?
No, no and no. Rebuilding an organization is hard — a lot harder than a lot of people assume. In a lot of ways, Ainge did his best deadline-day work weeks ago, enabling him to accomplish his goals on Thursday without lifting a figer.
9:22 p.m.: If Boston Celtics fans are a bit perturbed that Rajon Rondo wasn’t traded, they can commiserate with their Los Angeles Lakers brethren, who thought Pau Gasol would be gone by now.
Both All-Stars stayed put at Thursday’s trade deadline and will be announced with the starters prior to tonight’s game. If you didn’t know there was a game, it’s OK. The deadline sort of overshadowed any individual game.
Also, this isn’t the old battle of NBA heavyweights, either. These teams are both on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, with very little real chance to breaking in.
The projected starters appear below.
8 a.m. ET: To the surprise of many, two of the NBA’s proudest franchises avoided any blockbuster deals at the trade deadline, despite underwhelming seasons to this point.
Rajon Rondo is still a member of the Boston Celtics (19-36), and Pau Gasol is still on the Los Angeles Lakers (18-36), despite rumblings that either could be on the move before Thursday’s deadline.
The Lakers did make a smaller move, sending point guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, but even Jordan Hill ultimately ended up staying put.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens is fine with his team remaining as is. Of course, he would have been fine with it changing, too. Stevens has made clear that he doesn’t really care what Danny Ainge does with the roster. Ainge will give Stevens players, and Stevens will coach them.
Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 10:30 p.m.