On the night point guard Rajon Rondo made his long-awaited return
from ACL surgery and was also named as the 15th Celtics captain, the
Lakers staged a nifty rally down the stretch and defeated Boston
The Lakers, who signed a player on Thursday just to get up to the
NBA minimum of eight, ended a six-game overall losing streak and a
seven-game road skid by scoring the game's last 11 points.
The team is missing a slew of players, including guard Kobe Bryant,
and also played without leading scorer Nick Young, a guard who was
suspended for one game after throwing a punch on Wednesday night.
"We did a better job, but we still have to do better," Lakers coach
Mike D'Antoni said after his team shut Boston out for the final
3:12. "Let's not get carried away. It's one night and let's see if
we can repeat it."
Lakers swingman Wesley Johnson and guards Jodie Meeks and Kendall
Marshall hit successive 3-pointers to wipe out an eight-point
deficit and rookie forward Ryan Kelly hit two free throws with 9.4
seconds left before Rondo, out since tearing his right ACL last Jan.
25, missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
With Bryant on the end of the bench in street clothes,
center-forward Pau Gasol led the Lakers, who added guard Manny
Harris on Thursday, with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Kelly, breaking double figures for the first time as a pro, scored
Johnson had 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Marshall had 19
points and 14 assists and Meeks added 17 points and seven rebounds.
"It was an incredible experience for me," said Kelly, who came in
averaging 3.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. "That's the type of
player I know I am. I've been figuring things out a little bit. I
shot the ball with confidence."
D'Antoni said, "He does two or three things that we would like
everybody to do — he battles, he's smart and he makes shots. He
will just keep getting better."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he never told Rondo about naming him
captain, saying after the game that "maybe it's something I should
have done, but I think it's something you earn through your effort,
through your leadership, through your involvement in the community,
and all of those things."
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Rondo acknowledged that he didn't know until he was introduced in
pregame as "Captain Rajon Rondo."
"It's definitely an honor, following Paul Pierce, who was our
last captain," Rondo said. "He held the 'C' for a long time.
It's definitely something I'm very proud of."
Rondo played four five-minute "shifts," one in each quarter.
Wearing a brace on his right knee, Rondo scored eight points — all in a row in the third quarter — and had four assists and
two rebounds. He missed two key shots in the final minutes as
the Celtics failed to score in the final 3:12.
The Celtics have lost 10 of their last 11 games, a run that
appears to be sending them down a path of the NBA draft lottery
and toward the future.
Rookie forward Kelly Olynyk, coming off the bench, scored 12 of
his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and added five
rebounds and a season-high seven assists for the Celtics.
Forward Gerald Wallace also came off the bench and had 14 points
and five assists. Forward Jeff Green added 12 points and nine
After the game, Bryant, talking about Rondo being a holdover
from Boston's last title, said Rondo will handle the rebuilding
because "he's "an (expletive) just like me." Rondo called it "a
great compliment" and added, "I feel the same way about him."
NOTES: The injury-ravaged Lakers summoned G Manny Harris from
the Development League via a 10-day contract to get to the NBA
eight-man minimum. ... G Nick Young, the Lakers' leading scorer,
served a one-game suspension for throwing a punch at Phoenix
Suns G Goran Dragic. Young was upset that his teammates didn't
come to his defense during the fight, saying, "It was
one-on-five." ... The Celtics had two new faces — C Joel
Anthony, who joined the team from Miami after the three-way deal
with the Heat and Golden State Warriors, and G Chris Johnson,
signed to a 10-day contract. Neither played. ... Boston G Keith
Bogans, who rarely plays, was granted a leave of absence for
personal reasons. ... Injured Lakers starter Kobe Bryant dropped
in on a marketing class at Boston College during the day. ...
The Celtics open a three-game road trip in Orlando on Sunday and
the Lakers are at Toronto for the third stop on a seven-game
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