Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2014

Feb 21, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) holds the ball as Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) defends during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers snapped an eight-game home losing streak with a 101-92 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.  

It was just the third time in league history that the Lakers and Celtics clashed when both teams were at least 12 games under .500, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The Lakers (19-36) also halted a four-game losing streak with the win while the Celtics (19-37) have now lost three in a row. 

Trailing by 11 points entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers offense erupted for 38 points in the final frame (all of which were scored by the bench), led by newcomers MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore, who energized the Lakers second unit by scoring 14 and 15 points, respectively.  

And you better believe Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni was appreciative of their contributions.  

"Enthusiasm and they competed the whole time. Bazemore defended and ran the floor," D'Antoni said, referring to what the two brought to the table, according to the Lakers' official Twitter account

In total, L.A.'s reserves combined to score 63 points on a night when the Lakers shot 48 percent from the field and 32 percent from three. 


Key Players

Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers, Center

Making his first appearance since Jan. 31 due to a strained right groin, Pau Gasol had a chance to score 20 points or more in his 11th straight game dating back to Jan. 14, but he fell just short, dropping 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. 

The Spaniard was steady and decisive with the ball in his hands around the basket and ran the pick-and-roll well in concert with Kendall Marshall. More encouraging, though, was that Gasol's mobility didn't appear to be hindered by his troublesome groin. 

In addition to compiling 16 points, Gasol pulled down seven rebounds, doled out three assists and blocked two shots. 

Due to the reserves' fourth-quarter outburst, Gasol was limited to just 22 minutes, which may not be the worst thing in the world given the plethora of injuries he's dealt with this year. 

Grade: B


Kendall Marshall, Los Angeles Lakers, Point Guard

Feb 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kendall Marshall (12) reacts against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. The Rockets defeated the Lakers 134-108. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall entered Friday night tied for sixth among all players with 12 point-assist double-doubles this season, and from the opening tip it was quite clear that he was threatening to record a 13th. Ultimately, an inability to score hurt Marshall's chances, as the former lottery pick totaled five points (2-of-6 shooting, 1-of-2 from three) and eight assists. 

Not only did the league's leading three-point shooter splash down from beyond the arc for the Lakers' first bucket, but he was feeding teammates with pinpoint passes during a relatively prosperous first quarter on the offensive end. 

However, turnovers were a problem for Marshall, who committed three in the opening period and a game-high four on the night. All told, the Celtics scored 21 points off of 18 Lakers turnovers. 

Grade: B


Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers, Shooting Guard

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Jodie Meeks #20 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Boston Celtics at STAPLES Center on February 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

It wouldn't be hard to argue that the Lakers' most consistently active body this season has been Jodie Meeks, who's shed the label of three-point specialist with his more aggressive approach on both ends of the floor. 

A determination to get in passing lanes and run the floor was evident early, and although the threes weren't always falling with regularity, Meeks admirably kept at it. 

In 22 minutes, Meeks scored 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting (2-of-8 from three). 

With a high motor that's become an invaluable piece of L.A.'s up-tempo offense, Meeks and his running mate Marshall have generated a really nice rapport. 

Grade: B+


Jordan Farmar, Los Angeles Lakers, Sixth Man

Hampered by calf and hamstring injuries all season long, Jordan Farmar has been unable to establish a rhythm for much of this season. 

Through three quarters, it looked like that was going to be the case against the Celtics. Then the fourth quarter happened. 

Farmar scored all eight of his points in the fourth while managing to dish out four assists. It wasn't always pretty, but Farmar got hot at just the right time. 

Grade: C


Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, Small Forward

When Wes Johnson's not getting out in transition and his three-point shot isn't falling, it's generally going to be a rough night for the Lakers' streaky wing. 

In short, Johnson disappointed to the tune of one point (0-of-4 shooting, 0-of-3 from three), three rebounds and a steal. 

Grade: F


Ryan Kelly, Los Angeles Lakers, Power Forward

Like Johnson's performance, Ryan Kelly's lacked for intrigue. 

After scoring at least 10 points for the first time in five games on Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets, Kelly posted a doughnut after failing to attempt a field goal in 12 minutes. 

Same story, different night for the second-round pick.  

Grade: F


Bench, Los Angeles Lakers

Friday night saw Brooks and Bazemore make their Purple and Gold debuts for D'Antoni's second unit—and Celtics coach Brad Stevens heaped praise on the former Boston reserve prior to the evening's festivities. 

"MarShon's a very, very, very explosive young player," Stevens said, according to's Dave McMenamin

In 23 minutes, Brooks displayed flashes of that explosive potential, making for a terrific first impression that will undoubtedly lead to more chances as a generator of instant offense off of the Lakers' bench. His production in the fourth quarter helped seal things for L.A., too, as he was given crunch-time minutes along with the rest of the team's second unit. 

Brooks was superb, scoring 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting while Bazemore tallied 15 points, three rebounds and four assists in a staggering 33 minutes off the pine. Bazemore's willingness to get out and run meshed nicely with the Lakers' preferred style of play, so he could conceivably be in line for regular minutes moving forward. 

Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill saw 26 and 27 minutes, respectively, in rotational roles, and both put forth impressive performances. 

Kaman was especially active down low, tying a team-high with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Hill managed 10 points and a team-high 12 boards. 

Grade: A+


Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics, Point Guard

Feb 21, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Averaging 15.2 points and 9.4 assists over his last five games entering Friday night, Rajon Rondo was feeling it out of the gates, totaling five points, three rebounds and three assists over his first nine minutes. 

Per usual, Rondo functioned as the fulcrum of the Celtics' 26th-ranked offense, one that sought to take advantage of a Lakers defense that entered the night ranked 25th in terms of defensive efficiency, per Basketball Reference

A triple-double appeared to be in the cards during the first half, but Rondo's production tapered off over the final 24 minutes, leaving him with a final line consisting of six points (2-of-12 shooting), six rebounds and 11 assists. 

Rondo's jump shot still looks rather rusty, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. 

Grade: B-


Jeff Green, Boston Celtics, Small Forward

Jeff Green opened the scoring for the Celtics with 11 straight points on 4-of-5 shooting, including a dunk that appeared to defy the laws of physics. 

However, given Green's history of scoring inconsistencies, it shouldn't come as a major shock that the Boston swingman cooled down considerably after a hot start and failed to record a single point in the second quarter. 

Then, in the third quarter, Green's scoring touch returned, although that early spurt was evidently fool's gold more than anything. 

The enigmatic swingman finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting to go with three rebounds and two assists. 

Grade: B


Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics, Center

One of four Celtics players who finished in double figures, Jared Sullinger proved to be his usual, scrappy self against a thin Lakers front line. 

Twelve points and 12 rebounds (nine on the offensive glass) contributed to a fruitful night for the former Ohio State Buckeye, who proved capable of posing problems for Gasol thanks to his size and array of scoring capabilities. 

Grade: B


Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics, Power Forward

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Brandon Bass #30 of the Boston Celtics dunks against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center on February 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
Noah Graham/Getty Images

Brandon Bass was one of the driving forces behind Boston's 28-point third quarter that saw the Celtics take an 11-point lead into the game's final frame. 

Along with Sullinger, Bass did his part to ensure that the Celtics won the battle on the boards, contributing eight rebounds while scoring 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the loss. 

It's also interesting to note that the Celtics were a team-high plus-12 with Bass on the floor. 

Grade: A-


Gerald Wallace, Boston Celtics, Shooting Guard

Believe it or not, Gerald Wallace actually looked pretty good against the Lakers.

Although we haven't been able to say that much this season, Wallace looked confident running the floor in tandem with Rondo and was a willing passer and rebounder from start to finish.  

Wallace composed one of the night's most complete stat lines with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals on a night when the Celtics were plus-eight with him on the floor. 

Grade: B+


Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics, Sixth Man

The Celtics' passing was simply a joy to watch early on against the Lakers' porous defense, and rookie Kelly Olynyk decided that he wanted to get in on the party with a nifty dime of his own: 

Big numbers were hard to come by, but Olynyk was one of the only Celtics reserves to provide a small spark off the bench, racking up four points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 18 minutes. 

Grade: C-


Bench, Boston Celtics

Unlike L.A.'s bench, the Celtics' second unit didn't offer much in terms of scoring, as Kris Humphries led all Boston reserves with six points and two rebounds. 

Jerryd Bayless and Chris Johnson added five and four points, respectively, but they shot a combined 4-of-11 from the field on a night when Boston's bench mustered just 21 points.  

Grade: D-


What's Up Next?

The Celtics will cap off the California portion of their road trip on Saturday with a showdown against the Sacramento Kings while the Lakers will be back in action on Sunday night when they host the Brooklyn Nets. 


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