Lakers player grades from thrilling overtime win vs. Spurs
The Los Angeles Lakers won a thriller in overtime against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday, 125-121.
Los Angeles entered the game without LeBron James because of an ankle injury he suffered in the previous contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, so Malik Monk got the start.
Both teams were neck-and-neck after the first half, but the Spurs blew open the doors in the third quarter by outscoring L.A. 35-24. Lonnie Walker IV caught fire from downtown, and Devin Vassell made a one-legged three at the end of a shot clock that encapsulated how hot San Antonio was.
The Lakers trailed by 12 points in the fourth quarter, but a run sparked by Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis, with timely baskets from Monk and Austin Reaves, forced overtime.
Westbrook’s driving ability came in handy down the stretch, and the Lakers escaped with a win to go 2-2 on the season.
Here’s how the Lakers graded individually:
Russell Westbrook: A+
These types of games are why the Lakers pursued Westbrook. If James isn’t available, then Westbrook can handle the playmaking and scoring responsibilities to guide L.A. to a win.
He put in his best performance as a Laker, finishing with 33 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals on 15-of-27 shooting overall in 40 minutes. He went 1-of-4 from deep and 2-of-4 from the stripe, but the Spurs had no answer for his drives to the basket, especially late in the game.
L.A. doesn’t win this without him.
Malik Monk: A
Malik Monk’s defense was all over the place at times, but it was mostly better than in previous games. Screen navigation and pick-and-roll coverage are key areas to improve because the Spurs exploited that all game long.
However, Monk finished with 17 points and three assists in 39 minutes while hitting 4-of-10 shots from deep. He was also a +31 in his minutes, which is incredibly good in a four-point win. His ability to create off the bounce alongside Westbrook showed why he should get more minutes; plus, he made a deep triple late in regulation.
Kent Bazemore: C-plus
Kent Bazemore’s offensive production could’ve been more efficient, but his defense came up big in the fourth quarter and overtime. He had two steals and a block that counted on the box score, including the game-sealing steal from behind to end the overtime period.
Anthony Davis: A
Anthony Davis had a knee injury scare late in the game, but he managed to continue to finish his dominant game. The big man went for 35 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and four blocks in 42 minutes while shooting 15-of-31 overall.
His main opponent, Jakob Poeltl, posted a career-high 27 points, but that was mainly due to Davis being left in no man’s land because of Los Angeles’ guards.
DeAndre Jordan: B
DeAndre Jordan had his strongest first quarter on both ends of the floor. He stymied San Antonio’s drives to the rim and finished tough lobs from Westbrook. In 16 minutes, Jordan finished with seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks, doing his part in the win.
Austin Reaves: B-minus
Austin Reaves played 30 minutes off the bench and continued to knock down big shots. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting (2-of-4 from deep) and played important minutes in the fourth quarter. His defense wasn’t always great against San Antonio’s long, shifty guards.
Carmelo Anthony: D
After passing Moses Malone to become the ninth-highest scorer in NBA history against the Grizzlies, Anthony had the complete opposite game. He finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting (0-of-4 from deep) in 30 minutes, but he doesn’t get an F because of a timely layup he made late in the game that was badly needed.
Rajon Rondo: C
Rajon Rondo’s grade gets a boost for how he played in the first half. He penetrated San Antonio’s defense often to finish floaters and layups, but his momentum eventually decelerated as the game progressed, especially on defense.
He once made a play to try to intercept a pass while on the Lakers’ side of the floor, but it was a bad gamble because it allowed San Antonio to score with ease.
Dwight Howard: B
Dwight Howard played 18 minutes, mostly in the second and third quarters, and finished with six points, eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal. San Antonio had a tough time scoring against him and Davis when the two shared the floor. Howard also made all four of his free throws, so his grade gets a boost for that.