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Lakers 101, Celtics 92

Celtics fade away in fourth

Rajon Rondo (center) went for a shot as he was defended by Ryan Kelly (right) and Jodie Meeks in the first half.

EPA

Rajon Rondo (center) went for a shot as he was defended by Ryan Kelly (right) and Jodie Meeks in the first half.

LOS ANGELES — MarShon Brooks couldn’t help himself.

After a few of his scoring drives to the basket late Friday night, the guard looked at the Celtics bench, at his former coach and teammates, and he smiled.

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He was paying back a team that traded him away to Golden State last month. He was earning revenge against a club that never gave him much of a chance, instead keeping the former Providence College standout glued to the bench.

Brooks, who was making his Lakers debut after being traded from Golden State on Wednesday, didn’t gloat after scoring 10 of his 14 points in the game-deciding fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 101-92 win over Boston at Staples Center.

“You know what, man, a lot of people think I should be mad at the Boston Celtics,” Brooks said after the game, sitting in his locker. “But I guarantee you, there’s no one happier for me than [Celtics coach] Brad Stevens and [Celtics assistant] Jay Larranaga.” Stevens saw Brooks stay late to get up shots at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham, to play Larranaga in spirited games of one-on-one, even on off-days.

“They’ve seen all the work I’ve put in,” Brooks said.

They also saw him carve up the Celtics’ defense in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers rallied from an 11-point deficit by outscoring Boston, 38-18.

"He can score," Stevens said of Brooks. "We talked about it before the game. He can score and he can get going. "You let him get in a rhythm with shots at the rim, it could be a long night, because when he gets going, that’s when he’s really, really good."

The Celtics (19-37) have lost four of their last five games and fell to 0-11 on the road against Western Conference teams this season. The Lakers (19-36) snapped a franchise-record eight-game home losing streak and also swept the two-game season series with their rival.

Afterward, Stevens could point to several factors, such as Kent Bazemore, who scored 15 points in his Lakers debut after also being traded from Golden State. But the story was Brooks, who scored four baskets in the first 3½ minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the score at 76. Brooks scored again with 8:37 left to give the Lakers a 78-77 lead.

The Celtics never led from there.

"Nothing he did surprises us," said Rajon Rondo, who had 6 points on 2-12 shooting, 11 assists and 6 rebounds in 34 minutes. "He’s a great scorer."

Overall, Brooks made 7 of 11 shots in 23:14 off the bench — nearly a third of the total floor time (73 minutes) he had in 10 brief appearances with the Celtics this season.

"I feel like almost everybody in this league can really play," Brooks said before the game. "It’s just about the proper amount of minutes to produce."

Brooks made the most of his time Friday, but before the game, Stevens noted Brooks’ scoring ability, foreshadowing what was to come.

"MarShon’s a very, very, very explosive young player," Stevens said. "He’s a young guy. He’s had moments — he’s been a double-figure scorer in this league. And he would have played for us, but we had a logjam at (the shooting guard) spot, of good, solid players.

“If he’s still here, when we go through all our injuries and the transition in January, he would have played a lot. And probably would have scored a lot."

The Celtics traded Brooks and Jordan Crawford to Golden State as part of a three-team deal that gave the Celtics draft picks and center Joel Anthony.

Brooks was dealt this week to the Lakers, his fourth team in less than nine months.

He said he harbored no ill will toward the Celtics. "It was a humbling experience, obviously, me not getting an opportunity on a team that was struggling at the time I was there," Brooks said. "That was kind of humbling. I just continue to work."

Behind Brooks, the Lakers opened the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run and never looked back.

Chris Kaman, Jodie Meeks and Pau Gasol each scored 16 to lead the Lakers, whose bench produced 63 points.

"Their bench won that first four minutes [of the fourth quarter] and never stopped after that," Stevens said. "They just hit, got in a nice rhythm, we didn’t do enough to break it, and the new guys Bazemore and Brooks just killed us. They were the difference in the game."

The bitter rivals entered the game with a combined winning percentage of .339 — the lowest figure for one of their head-to-head meetings.

Jeff Green scored the Celtics’ first 11 points but faded from there. He finished with a team-high 21. Brandon Bass scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half. Jared Sullinger had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at Baxter.Holmes@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.
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