Gasol, who had not played since Jan. 31 because of a groin-muscle
injury, scored 16 points in the Lakers' come-from-behind, 101-92
victory over the Celtics at Staples Center. It snapped the Lakers'
franchise-record home losing streak at eight.
But the biggest lift the Lakers got was from just-arrived guards
MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore, who had languished on the Golden
State Warriors bench. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said made the
difference with their energy as his team overcame an 11-point
deficit in the fourth quarter to win going away, and his returning
"They're looking for an opportunity, they got the opportunity and
they did it," said Gasol, who added that he was pleased by his
22-minute stint. "I'm glad to be back out there again and be
effective. Now, I just have to build on it."
Brooks, acquired with Bazemore from Golden State this week in the
trade for Steve Blake, scored 10 of his 14 points in the
fourth-quarter rally. Bazemore finished with 15 points and was
lauded by D'Antoni for his work on defense.
"The first thing they brought was enthusiasm, and they competed the
whole time," D'Antoni said. "I thought Bazemore did a great job
defensively and running the floor. MarShon hit three or four baskets
that kind of got us back in the game.
"So both of them played well, which I think energized the other guys
that were on the court."
A pull-up jumper by guard Jordan Farmar gave the Lakers their first
lead, 80-79, with 8:10 left, and they pulled away from there as the
Celtics (19-37) were denied their first road victory this season
against a Western Conference opponent. They're 0-for-11.
"The Lakers bench won the first four minutes (of the fourth quarter)
and it never stopped after that," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
"They just hit and got in a nice rhythm and we didn't do enough to
break it. The new guys, Bazemore and Brooks, just killed us."
Brooks began the season with the Celtics before being traded to the
"He can score and he can get it going," Stevens said. "If you let
him get in a rhythm with shots at the rim, it can be a long night."
Boston guard Rajon Rondo said the switch in momentum was the biggest
thing, noting the Celtics couldn't maintain theirs over from the
third quarter, just like an earlier loss this week in Phoenix.
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"It's frustrating to have the second game (in a row) where you have
the lead," Rondo said. "We've just got to move on, we have another
game. They made shots, they got loose balls and we didn't."
Lakers guard Jodie Meeks matched Gasol with 16, and center Chris
Kaman added 16 points off the bench, including eight in the fourth,
when he was dominant inside down the stretch.
Forward Jeff Green led the Celtics with 21 points and forward
Brandon Bass added 20.
Bass scored 10 points in the third quarter as his team began to pull
away. A Bass dunk with 2:17 left gave Boston a 72-59 lead, the
largest to that point. The Celtics led, 74-63, at the end of three.
The Lakers trailed, 60-57, with 6:27 left in the third quarter when
Green picked up his fourth foul and exited. But Bass and Jared
Sullinger took up the slack by powering inside for scores, and the
Lakers couldn't take advantage of Green's absence.
Bazemore looked to have almost instantly joined the team's massive
casualty list when the guard's knee was rolled over by the Celtics'
Gerald Wallace in a loose-ball scramble with 3:50 left in the third
quarter. But Bazemore, slightly hobbled, gave the Lakers bench a
thumbs-up sign and stayed in.
Boston led, 46-44, at halftime after a spirited second-quarter rally
by the Lakers, who trailed early by as many as 11 points.
NOTES: The Lakers had 11 in uniform with the return of C Pau Gasol
from injury plus the debuts of G Kent Bazemore and G MarShon Brooks,
acquired from Golden State in the Steve Blake trade. That's a luxury
for coach Mike D'Antoni, who had nine players or fewer the past two
weeks. Bazemore and Brooks went right into the rotation as the
Lakers evaluate candidates for next season's wide-open roster. ...
D'Antoni said the return of Gasol, who last played Jan. 31, was an
added plus in that "we need to judge players on how they can play
with good players, and Pau can do that." ... Brooks, on his third
team this season, started it with Boston before being traded to the
Warriors. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the swingman should be a
good fit for D'Antoni's system. "He's easy to coach ... I think
he'll do well for them." Brooks was actually a first-round pick by
the Celtics in 2011 but was quickly traded to the Nets before
returning briefly this season. ... Boston G Rajon Rondo, who made
his season debut Jan. 31 vs. the Lakers, averaged 18.3 points and
8.7 assists in his past three games before Friday. "He's feeling
more of a rhythm now," Stevens said. "He's playing more minutes and
more minutes in a row, and I think that helps."
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