Saturday, April 1 2023

No LeBron James, no problem.

For the third game in a row, James was out of action with a strained left adductor, but for the second game in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers still managed to get a victory, this time over the Detroit Pistons.

It wasn’t the prettiest of contests, as it was marred by lots of fouls and free throws, but L.A. took advantage of its trips to the charity stripe and got a 128-121 victory.

It was the Lakers’ best offensive performance of the season so far. They shot 55.1 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the foul line (35-of-40 overall) while also registering 29 assists.

They fell behind by as many as 14 in the second quarter, but as they’ve done so often this year, they made a run just before halftime to take a 68-64 record into intermission.

Anthony Davis: A+

With James out again, Davis came through with an absolutely dominant outing for the second game in a row.

He scored 38 points on 10-of-16 shooting while also converting 18-of-21 from the charity stripe, to go along with 16 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists.

The Pistons had a very small lineup on the floor for most of the contest, and Davis took full advantage.

Troy Brown Jr.: B

Brown went 3-of-5 from the field overall and 1-of-2 from 3-point range to finish with eight points in 18 minutes. Moving forward, head coach Darvin Ham would likely want to see better individual defense and rebounding from him, but the fifth-year forward has often been solid nonetheless.

Patrick Beverley: C+

Beverley was 1-of-3 overall (all of his attempts were 3-pointers), but he got a little carried away defensively, as he committed five fouls, as well as three turnovers, in 25 minutes. He also got whistled for a technical foul at one point in the third quarter after arguing with one of the referees over a personal foul he had just committed.

Beverley did have a nice blocked shot on Bojan Bogdanovic, whom he found himself guarding at times.

Austin Reaves: A

Reaves is doing an impressive job of establishing himself as a Swiss Army knife for the Lakers, as well as a hustle player. In just the first quarter, he drew a charging foul while grabbing a rebound off a missed free throw by a teammate. Although his individual defense is a work in progress, he has multiple outstanding efforts contesting jump shots, one of which led to a blocked shot.

The undrafted guard finished with 16 points on 5-of-8 overall shooting and 2-of-4 from 3-point land, six assists and four rebounds in 36 minutes.

Lonnie Walker: B+/A-

In 34 minutes, Walker once again made his presence felt with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting while making all four of his free throws and adding three assists.

He has seemingly stepped into the role Malik Monk had last season as a shooting guard who supplies the Lakers with instant offense, whether he’s slashing to the hoop or hitting from the perimeter.

Russell Westbrook: C+

For the fourth straight game, Westbrook had trouble with his shooting efficiency. He started out well early in the contest, but overall he was just 4-of-13 while committing four turnovers in 30 minutes.

However, he also notched 12 assists, some of which were very pretty, and he also grabbed five rebounds to help L.A. outrebound Detroit 44-37.

One thing to note was that Ham put Westbrook back into the game with 5:32 left in the fourth quarter and the outcome up in the air. The former MVP played the rest of the contest, which could be an indication that Ham is gaining trust in him.

Wenyen Gabriel: A

Gabriel took advantage of an undersized Pistons frontline and made all five of his shot attempts, two of which came off offensive rebounds he grabbed. Overall, he finished with 15 points and seven boards in just 18 minutes.

Thomas Bryant: A-

In his regular season debut, Bryant played 13 minutes and did a very good job of holding down the center position when Davis was resting. In fact, he and Davis played together at the same time for about three minutes in the fourth quarter. Could that be a sign of things to come?

Bryant finished with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, five rebounds and one blocked shot. His energy and emotion are noticeable, and he did a good job of running the floor, which led to him getting a fast-break layup in the second quarter off a Westbrook assist.

Dennis Schroder: D+/C-

Like Bryant, Schroder was also making his regular season debut, but unlike Bryant, he was rusty and out of rhythm. He attempted five shots in 16 minutes and made just one, and his only other contribution was two assists.

Moving forward, Ham will have to find a way to manage minutes among all of his small guards – Westbrook, Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and now Schroder.

Kendrick Nunn: A

Nunn has been very inconsistent this season, but tonight he was outstanding in limited minutes. He connected on all four of his shot attempts, two of which were 3-pointers, and he ended the game with 10 points, one rebound and one assist in 15 minutes.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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