Behind Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, the Celtics got off to a great start in L.A. tonight. Green was aggressive, notching 11 first quarter points, Boston was up 28-19 after one. Rajon was dishing & driving himself, with 5 points, 3 assists & 3 rebounds in the first 12 minutes. And then…Rondo went to the bench.
The Celtics’ offense looked like it always does without Rondo-lost and desperate. For the first 6 minutes or so of the 2nd quarter, Boston fired up wild jumpers and looked generally discombobulated. The Lakers outscored Boston 13-8 to start the quarter. Rondo came in and settled things down somewhat, but Boston still struggled to find a rhythm. The C’s mustered just 18 points in the quarter, including going 0 of 6 from downtown, and the lead at halftime was down to two points. It was 46-44 Boston. Pau Gasol was able to exploit the Celts’ lack of length, going for 10 first half points and getting to the FT line often. Jeff Green cooled off, putting up a goose egg in the 2nd after a hot start.
The second half saw the C’s finally start to put together a nice run. After sputtering out of the gate in the 3rd quarter, Brandon Bass went on a rampage of sorts, scoring 10 points and grabbing 5 boards in the quarter. Sully, Wallace & Green followed BBass’ lead, and Boston actually played some very good basketball for most of the quarter. Coupled with some nice defense, the Celts went into the 4th quarter up 74-63. And that’s where everything went down the toilet.
Just as they have most of this season, the C’s collapsed late in this game. They simply could not find the gusto to finish off the Lakers. Boston basically put it into cruise control, mainly on defense, while the LA bench turned things up. As Boston started to slow down, the Lakers did the complete opposite and fought their way back into the game. That got the crowd into it, and Boston could not recover..
Behind former Celtic Marshon Brooks’ 10 fourth quarter points (yep-that guy), LA outscored the Celts 38-18 and thrashed Boston in the 4th quarter. And it was all done by their bench players. Kent Bazemore, brought in by L.A. at the trade deadline, had 15 points and really got the home crowd fired-up. Brooks, who stared down the Boston bench after one big hoop, finished with 14 points. Final in LA tonight is 101-92 Lakers. Say what you want, we’re “tanking”, it’s just a meaningless game during a lost season, but it always hurts to lose to the Lakers. Always. Especially a team that the Celts really should have handled. Boston now heads north to Sacramento for a 10:30pm EST game with the Kings tomorrow.
- Brandon Bass was the main reason that this game was as close as it was going into the 4th. Bass had 20 points and 8 rebounds, and went for 10 & 5 in his big 3rd quarter.
- Rondo looked very good for most of this game despite shooting poorly (2 of 12). He had 6 pts, 11 asts & 6 rebounds.
- Battling some foul trouble, Jeff Green led all scorers with 21 points including 3 buckets from downtown
- Boston shot 4 of 22 from long range (ouch) and turned the ball over 14 times
- The Celts’ bench was outscored 64 to 21
The Grid: (quick stats)
- The two teams combined for an atrocious 11 of 44 from downtown