Friday, January 28 2022

The Los Angeles Lakers finally delivered a convincing win with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis all on the floor, beating the Boston Celtics, 117-102.

Boston had control during the early stages of the game thanks to Jayson Tatum’s hot shooting from everywhere on the court. Despite Jaylen Brown’s absence, Tatum ensured the Celtics looked poised early.

However, the Lakers began picking up the pace as the second quarter progressed and took a five-point lead at halftime behind James’ strong first-half outing.

Then, the Lakers outscored the Celtics 31-20 in the third quarter, when L.A. usually struggles, and built the lead to 20 points by the fourth.

Boston made a short run to make the game close after the Big 3 were pulled for the night, but it wasn’t enough to make a serious effort.

Here is how the Lakers graded individually from the win:

Russell Westbrook: A-plus

Westbrook recently said he can play all positions and roles for the Lakers, and he did a bit of everything in this one. He finished dunks and layups at the rim, found shooters when operating in the pick-and-roll, made timely cuts to the basket and helped put great on-ball pressure when guarding Tatum on the perimeter.

He finished with 24 points (9-of-16 FG) and 11 assists after leading the charge in the third quarter.

Avery Bradley: C

Avery Bradley returned to the starting lineup after dealing with a thumb injury, but his impact didn’t swing the game. He made a triple from the left corner but had bad shot and pass decisions throughout the night.

Talen Horton-Tucker: B

Talen Horton-Tucker definitely asserted himself when attacking the basket. He finished with 12 points and shot 5-of-9 from inside the arc; he missed all five of his triples, though the last attempt was a garbage-time heave to beat the shot clock.

He added six rebounds, four assists and two steals in a plus-16 performance. His defense against Tatum had some good and bad moments, but it’s the challenge the Lakers have for him to grow as a two-way player.

LeBron James: A-plus

James certainly found his rhythm in this one. He had his shot going from the get-go, opening the game with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. He nailed 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers and found lanes at the rim.

James finished with 30 points, his fourth 30-point game in his last five appearances, five assists and four rebounds on a 13-of-19 clip.

Anthony Davis: C-plus

He has intriguing box-score stats: 17 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks. But Davis did not impose his physical will against a smaller Robert Williams. Instead, it was Williams who threw down multiple lobs over Davis.

The Lakers big man had just seven points on five shots at halftime, so he clearly could’ve been better. His interior presence defensively helped his grade.

Carmelo Anthony: B-minus

Carmelo Anthony gets a passing grade despite not hitting his 3s as he should’ve. He went 0-of-4 from downtown but finished with nine points, eight rebounds and a steal. His ability to hunt for mismatches and hit mid-range jumpers is still a crucial asset to his offensive arsenal, and it’s a plus for L.A. when he’s a capable, engaged defender.

Malik Monk: A-minus

Malik Monk played 20 minutes, but it felt like he should’ve been on the court more. He ended the night with 10 points (4-of-6 overall, 2-of-3 from deep), two rebounds, two assists and a steal.

He helped close the game when Boston made that quick run.

Wayne Ellington: C-plus

Wayne Ellington also played for a short time. He logged 13 minutes and played the most in the fourth quarter when he opened with the starting group of that period. He hit 2-of-4 from deep to pass on the night and had some good defensive possessions to prevent points on one-on-one scenarios.

Dwight Howard: C

Dwight Howard played his usual minutes: the start of the second and fourth quarters. He posted four points, eight rebounds and a block to pass.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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