The return of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was the highlight of the night for the Boston Celtics, but in the end, Friday’s tussle with the Los Angeles Lakers ended on a sour note for Boston, as they fell by a final score of 107-104.
Rondo showed flashes of his “old self”, scoring 8 points, dishing out 4 assists, and grabbing 2 steals in 19 minutes, but the Celtics seemed to run out of gas as a whole, blowing a 4th-quarter lead by allowing 31 points in the final frame. Pau Gasol led the Lakers in both scoring (24 points) and rebounding (13 boards) to key the rally, but it was the more unsung heroes that ended up pushing LA over the hump.
Kendall Marshall, who was recently signed out of the D-League, scored 19 points and dished out 14 important assists to keep their offense flowing, and rookie big man Ryan Kelly emerged from the bench with 20 points (including 2 threes) in 34 minutes. As a team, the Lakers shot a blistering 60% from the 3-point arc (and 50% overall from the field), and that hot shooting allowed them to overcome 19 costly turnovers (to just 7 from the Celtics).
On the Boston side, there were some positives outside of Rondo’s return, with Kelly Olynyk going for 25 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds off the bench, but it wasn’t quite enough. To be honest, though, the Rondo return should be enough to sustain even the most diehard Boston fan, as he is far and away their best player at this stage, and his shear presence provides some light in what has turned out to be a rather dark season.