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Lakers player grades: L.A. is out of tune in New Orleans

By Robert Marvi,


The Los Angeles Lakers ended their five-game road trip on Saturday with a tilt against the struggling New Orleans Pelicans, who had a 10-game losing streak going into the game.

The Lakers held a solid lead for much of the first three quarters, but the momentum shifted at the end of the third period. CJ McCollum scored with 5.2 seconds left, and right afterward, Wenyen Gabriel threw a bad inbound pass that was intercepted by McCollum, which resulted in a 3-pointer by Jose Alvarado.

Los Angeles went from being up by eight points to just three during that sequence, and down the stretch, its defense fell apart, as it gave up 70 points in the second half and lost, 131-126.

It was yet another missed opportunity for the Lakers to gain ground in their pursuit of a Western Conference playoff spot. They’re now two games behind the 10th-place Golden State Warriors, but they’re only 3.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks, who currently hold the fourth spot.

Rui Hachimura: C-

Hachimura hit 1-of-2 from 3-point range, but overall he struggled offensively, going just 2-of-7 from the field. He played just 19 minutes, as head coach Darvin Ham chose to not have him on the court during crunch time, and he finished with eight points, five rebounds and one steal.

LeBron James: B

James is getting extremely close to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for most career points in NBA history. He scored 27 points on Saturday, which puts him just 36 points away from overtaking the legendary Lakers center.

But James was not very efficient by his standards against the Pelicans. Although he did a very good job of attacking the basket, especially in transition, he was 10-of-22 from the field and 1-of-7 from downtown.

Anthony Davis: A+

Davis has quickly gotten back to his old dominant self since returning last week from a right foot stress injury. He went off against his old team, scoring 34 points on 13-of-25 shooting, grabbing 14 rebounds and adding three assists, two blocked shots and one steal.

He even hit 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, a department in which he usually doesn’t excel.

This is the Davis the Lakers need on a consistent basis if they are to make the playoffs and do something of note there.

Patrick Beverley: B

Beverley went 2-of-3 on Saturday and finished with seven points, four assists, two rebounds and one block in 27 minutes.

At times, he found himself guarding Brandon Ingram, especially down the stretch, but he wasn’t able to slow him down. Ingram had 35 points, as he scored time and again in isolation situations in the fourth quarter against his old team.

Russell Westbrook: B+

After a couple of very rough games offensively, Westbrook was efficient tonight, making 6-of-11 shots, including 2-of-3 from 3-point land. He had 15 points, four assists, four rebounds and just two turnovers in 23 minutes, but the Lakers could’ve used more from him in this type of shootout.

Troy Brown Jr.: A

Brown had a very nice game, as he got to play in crunch time instead of Hachimura. He shot 5-of-9 overall and 3-of-7 from downtown while making two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as L.A. tried to regain control.

In 31 minutes, he registered 13 points and six rebounds.

Lonnie Walker IV: B+

Walker gave the Lakers some nice instant offense from the bench, going 4-of-8 and scoring 11 points in 16 minutes.

One blemish he had was his 1-of-4 mark from 3-point range. Since coming back from a knee ailment, he has struggled from the outside, and the Lakers will need him to regain the consistent production he showed from that distance over the first two months of the season.

Thomas Bryant, Wenyen Gabriel: Incomplete

Bryant and Gabriel got three and six minutes of playing time, respectively. Both have seen their playing time go down significantly ever since the return of Davis and the acquisition of Hachimura.

Both scored two points apiece versus the Pelicans.

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