Home Breaking News Lakers player grades: L.A. defeat Grizzlies for first win of season

Lakers player grades: L.A. defeat Grizzlies for first win of season

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Lakers player grades: L.A. defeat Grizzlies for first win of season

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies for its first win of the season, 121-118.

Memphis came into the game with an undefeated 2-0 record while Los Angeles craved a win after starting 0-2.

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The Lakers had a lead at halftime thanks to Russell Westbrook’s energetic start. The former league MVP racked up eight assists early in the two quarters, and his shot started falling in the second as he put up nine points.

In the third quarter, however, the Grizzlies stormed out of the gates with Ja Morant’s incredible three-level scoring prowess punishing L.A. on every possession. Morant’s downhill attacks resulted in either layups for him or easy baskets for teammates.

But in the final quarter, the Lakers exploded from 3-point range, most notably Carmelo Anthony, and escaped with a win after winning the last-minute free-throw game.

Here’s how the Lakers graded individually after a thriller:

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Brodie had a terrific first half by setting up Anthony Davis and DeAndre Jordan with easy lobs, and he found a rhythm in the second quarter with his shot. He knocked down mid-range jumpers, finished layups and hit a 3-pointer, but it still wasn’t his best.

He put up 13 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, four steals, nine turnovers and shot 5-of-15 overall (1-of-4 3P) and 2-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Plenty to be encouraged by, but Morant (40 points, 10 assists, 13-of-21 FG) outplayed him, even though Kent Bazemore mainly had the Morant assignment.

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Bazemore made all three of his shots, including two 3s, for 11 points, but he had one defensive error that could’ve been fatal.

On the possible last play of the game, Memphis trailed by three points and needed a heave to go in to force overtime. All the Lakers needed to do was not foul a player attempting a three, and that’s what Bazemore did when Morant launched into his shooting motion.

Fortunately for Bazemore, Morant missed the final attempt, and the Lakers scraped by.

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James had a sluggish start, but he became more active as the game progressed. He made crucial triples in the final quarter to keep the lead intact, but he didn’t make the same impact he did from the first two games.

In 40 minutes, he put up 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks and four turnovers while shooting 7-of-19 overall, 4-of-9 from deep and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Davis rebounded from a poor outing against the Phoenix Suns and made his presence known against Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams.

Davis finished with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, 5-of-7 from the stripe and made a big three in the second half. He added eight rebounds, four blocks and two assists to his stat line, so it was an improved performance for him. He cleaned up everything and could always be found near the ball.

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Jordan’s main impact came from finishing lobs from Westbrook. He played his usual minutes to start each half and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks, but he had an egregious turnover with suboptimal decision-making in drop coverage that didn’t cut it.

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Lakers don’t win this game without Anthony. It’s that simple. The longtime veteran exploded for 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting overall with a 6-of-8 clip from deep.

He punished the Grizzlies no matter how much space the defense granted him; his rhythm was on point every shot. He added three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal in 28 minutes, including two free throws in the final minute to maintain L.A.’s lead.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Malik Monk had a solid offensive performance. He hit 3-pointers in rhythm (2-of-3 on the night) and made plays near the rim for 12 points. Monk’s late free throws were also clutch.

His grade takes a hit because he evidently struggled to contain the perimeter against Morant, De’Anthony Melton and Desmond Bane, among others, but his shotmaking and playmaking abilities came in handy in this one.

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Austin Reaves continues to make all the right plays. Timely cuts on offense for easy layups, running out in transition after misses, rotating the right way and all the little details. He even played in the first quarter, showing the team’s trust in him.

The undrafted rookie put up four points on 2-of-3 shooting and three assists in 18 minutes, including fourth-quarter run.

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Dwight Howard played 18 minutes and finished the game with four points (2-of-2 FG), one rebound, one assist and one block. He didn’t significantly sway the game.

Head coach Frank Vogel inserted Avery Bradley later in the second half to help slow down Morant’s outburst, but that experiment lasted just two minutes, so Bradley doesn’t get a grade here.

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Lakers player grades: L.A. defeat Grizzlies for first win of season