On a night when MarShon Brooks became the first player to appear in both Lakers’ and Celtics’ uniforms in the same season since 1977-78, Brooks and Kent Bazemore, both acquired the night before the trade deadline in a salary dump deal for Steve Blake, were the catalysts in a comeback win last night that snapped the Lakers eight game home losing streak, the longest in their history. Down by as many as 13 points late in the third quarter, the Lakers outscored Boston 38-18 in the fourth, to pull out a nine-point win.
Brooks and Bazemore scored 18 of that 38, and combined for 29 in the game in a total of 56 minutes. Looking at their season and career stats after the trade, it did not appear that the Lakers had acquired any actual help in these two, but given a chance to play last night,
|they showed that they may be more than the box of cereal and chipped bowl and/or comedy team that I described after the trade.
Any strategy that the Lakers may have had to lower salaries to get under the luxury tax threshold failed, as the only dumping they did was of Blake, and Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol
remain Lakers. But maybe that is not such a bad thing. If these two guys can actually play, as they seemed to show last night, a little health here and there, like getting Gasol back against the Celtics, and maybe a couple of more of the injured in the next week, who knows what kind of a run they could still make this season?
Boston was embarrassingly bad from behind the arc, shooting 18% on four-of-22, including one-of-five in that fourth quarter. Their overall team defense was also pretty
|bad, and as a team they came away with a grand total of one blocked shot – equaling the Lakers’ Ryan Kelly’s total – for their night’s work.
As it stands now, both Boston and the Lakers are out of the playoffs for only the second time in any NBA season. So, this game against Boston was no real test for the Lakers, but Sunday they play the resurgent Nets who have won 15 of their last 20, and that is followed by a trip
to Indiana on Tuesday. If they can win one of those two, well, … we’ll see.
Finally, the most pleasant surprise of the game was that despite Gasol’s return and his playing 22 minutes, Kaman was not re-relegated to the bench, but was given 26 minutes of playing time and once again made the most of it, demonstrating again that he has been the team’s best player this season, tying for the team high with 16 points on seven-for-nine shooting, and pulling down eight boards.
And I still like the feel of saying “the comedy team of Bazemore and Brooks”.