L.A. nearly loses lead to Rockets but prevail


The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a win against the Houston Rockets Sunday, 95-85.

Los Angeles is now on a two-game win streak after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, but head coach Frank Vogel switched the lineup for this game.

Russell Westbrook, Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were the starters. Vogel credited Bradley for his energy that changed the Cavaliers’ game, and the spacing and defense noticeably improved in the opening half.

Carmelo Anthony had a hot first half when he drilled shot after shot, and the Lakers eventually led by 28 points at one point.

However, the Lakers let their foot off the gas again in the fourth and allowed Houston a glimpse of hope. However, L.A. extracted a 95-85 victory.

Here’s how the Lakers graded individually:

Russell Westbrook: B-plus

Westbrook put up 20 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and turned it over just twice. His shot wasn’t there in the second half, but he finished with a game-high plus-25 in 35 minutes.

Avery Bradley: C

Bradley’s strong perimeter defense impacted the game right away, and he finished with three steals and a block on the night to show for it. However, he missed all four of his 3-pointers that lowered his grade.

Kent Bazemore: B-minus

Bazemore hit the shots he was supposed to: corner threes and a mid-range jumper after a side pick-and-roll with Davis. He also added three steals because his defense was mostly solid all night. A botched open layup in transition lowered his grade.

LeBron James: C-plus

It definitely wasn’t James’ best performance. He put up eight assists and seven rebounds, but his shot continues to be cold. He scored 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting, and he missed all six of his 3-pointers. However, his on-ball defense was terrific when he fully engaged, which led to four steals.

Anthony Davis: C-plus

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Davis had 16 points and 13 rebounds to go with two assists, a steal and a block, but it wasn’t his most impactful outing. He went 7-of-17 from the field but didn’t have the interior dominance on offense.

Carmelo Anthony: A-plus

Anthony came into the game and started firing right away. He finished the game with 23 points on 5-of-8 3-point shooting. He also added four blocks, so it was about as complete of a performance as it can get for the 37-year-old forward.

Austin Reaves: C-minus

Austin Reaves played 20 minutes but didn’t make any major plays. He was solid on defense, but the offensive impact didn’t show in this one. He turned it over three times but scored two points, which is not a good ratio to have.

Malik Monk: F

Malik Monk had his worst performance as a Laker. He missed all six field-goal attempts, including four 3-pointers. He started playing isolation ball in the fourth quarter while the Rockets clawed back into the game, so it wasn’t what he could do.

DeAndre Jordan: B

DeAndre Jordan converted easy lobs in the second half to help grow the lead. He finished with eight points on 4-of-4 shooting, three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in 17 minutes off the bench, so it was a solid game for his new role instead of being a starter in each half.

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