The Los Angeles Lakers rebounded Sunday after a disappointing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves and defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 114-106.
Los Angeles relied on Anthony Davis to carry the load in the first quarter. With Jakob Poeltl out, the Lakers fed Davis the ball down low, and he feasted. A lob to himself after the Spurs sent the double-team got the crowd in a frenzy. Davis dropped 19 points in the opening 12 minutes.
The Lakers developed a theme of going up by 13 or 14 points only to let the Spurs make a run. That was basically how the game went because the Spurs made a last-second run in the final minutes of the fourth after L.A. had a solid lead.
Here’s how the Lakers graded individually from the win:
Russell Westbrook: B-minus
Russell Westbrook had a pretty solid game, but he stained it with seven turnovers and a missed wide-open dunk in transition. The Spurs usually made a run when he returned from the bench, but he chipped in with 14 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
Westbrook also shot 3-of-5 from deep. His release looked smooth when he was in rhythm and didn’t think about letting it fly.
Avery Bradley: C-minus
Avery Bradley didn’t do much to affect the game. He missed all three of his jumpers (two from beyond the arc) and put up zero points in 23 minutes, but his defense was solid.
Talen Horton-Tucker: A
Horton-Tucker made his season debut and started the game, too. In 27 minutes, the third-year guard put up 17 points (7-of-14 FG), four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
Horton-Tucker definitely showed his defensive improvements on several plays, both on and off the ball. He deflected passes, jumped passing lanes and had strong contests. The only downfall was his 1-of-5 clip from deep. He drilled his first but couldn’t connect with the others.
Still, he deserved an A for his debut without increased training in practice leading up to this moment.
Carmelo Anthony: B-plus
Anthony got the starting nod and the Doug McDermott assignment at power forward. He bounced back and scored 15 points (5-of-7 FG, 2-of-3 3P) and grabbed five rebounds in 30 minutes. He hit mid-range jumpers in the first half and drilled a big three late in the game to keep the Spurs away.
Anthony Davis: A-plus
Davis needed to have a monstrous game with Drew Eubanks as his matchup. Davis delivered with 34 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 40 minutes. He also made 2-of-3 from deep. Davis earns the title of player of the game for his outing.
His momentum slowed in the third quarter after a 27-point first half because of San Antonio’s adjustments, but he came up clutch to end the game.
Wayne Ellington: A
Wayne Ellington had his best game of the season. He played 30 minutes off the bench and chipped in 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Every time he released the ball, it felt like it would go in. Ellington also had a great game on defense by forcing turnovers with his on-ball intensity and not getting blown by by San Antonio’s shifty guards.
Malik Monk: A
Malik Monk made several big and tough shots all throughout this one, especially in the second half. The 23-year-old guard dropped 16 points (6-of-10 FG, 2-of-4 3P) and four assists in 27 minutes. He made some nice passes to Dwight Howard for good looks, too, and continues to thrive as a secondary creator.
Rajon Rondo: B-minus
Rajon Rondo had a solid game facilitating off the bench with seven assists in 20 minutes. He also added a block. Rondo had moments where he could’ve been more aggressive and attacked the rim, but he settled for passes instead. Still, Rondo had a solid shift in his role.
Dwight Howard: C-minus
Dwight Howard put up three points, four rebounds and a block in 10 minutes, but his defective hands led to easy misses near the rim that should’ve counted as assists for players like Monk.