Lakers player grades from 26-point collapse vs. Thunder

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The Los Angeles Lakers blew a 26-point lead and lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 123-115.

Los Angeles came in without LeBron James, while Anthony Davis played after an injury scare against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Lakers came out firing in the first quarter en route to a 41-19 lead, while Oklahoma City’s youth showed early because of the missed shots and clunky offense.

However, it all started going south from there for the Lakers.

Though L.A. built a 26-point lead in the second quarter, the players took their foot off the gas, and the Thunder gradually chipped away at the lead to make it a 14-point deficit at the break.

Then Oklahoma City came out red hot in the third quarter and made 8-of-12 shots from deep, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s shotmaking that peaked when he banked in a triple at the end of the quarter.

L.A. was now the team that trailed going into the fourth. A comeback didn’t happen because of poor shot selection and defense combined with the inability to take advantage of the Thunder’s mistakes late in the game.

Here’s how the Lakers graded individually:

Russell Westbrook: F

Russell Westbrook was on pace to get an A on the night based on how he performed in the first half. He got to his spots with ease and made the Thunder pay for bringing in help defense.

However, once the Thunder climbed back into the game, Westbrook started forcing the issue on offense, both passing and shooting-wise. Despite posting a 20-point, 14-rebound, 13-assist triple-double, he also turned the ball over 10 times and went 2-of-8 from deep, including a puzzling 3-point attempt late in the game.

It all ended in Westbrook’s elimination with 1.5 seconds remaining because he got upset at Darius Bazley for dunking instead of letting the clock run out.

Malik Monk: D-plus

Malik Monk’s first half was highlighted by alley-oop finishes and strong dunks at the rim, but that was mainly it. He made a tough driving layup late in the game, but he also air-balled a three after that would’ve tied the game. He shot 1-of-5 from deep overall.

Kent Bazemore: C

Kent Bazemore did his job in the first half, making his first three 3-point attempts. His defense was also solid, and he didn’t make any wild mistakes or force the issue on offense. But he missed key shots when it mattered, which is why his grade is average.

Anthony Davis: C-plus

Anthony Davis put up 30 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal in 37 minutes while shooting 12-of-22 overall and 6-of-7 from the free-throw stripe, but the Lakers didn’t put the ball in his hands enough down the stretch.

Oklahoma City didn’t always have an answer for him, which is why the jump shots taken by the guards made the loss more perplexing.

DeAndre Jordan: C

DeAndre Jordan played his usual minutes to start each half and posted six points, four rebounds and two blocks on 3-of-3 shooting in 13 minutes. It was his usual night.

Carmelo Anthony: F

Carmelo Anthony’s shot has abandoned him after going 6-of-8 from deep against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday. He couldn’t buy a perimeter basket again in this match, though he made tough shots while banging down low.

But going 1-of-8 from deep against a young team won’t cut it, especially how he air-balled a potential game-tying three when Josh Giddey passed an inbound pass right to him.

Austin Reaves: D

It wasn’t the type of game for Austin Reaves to make an impact. He struggled against Oklahoma’s bigger, lengthier guards and didn’t hit his shots in 18 minutes of action.

Avery Bradley: B

Avery Bradley was one of the better, if not the best, Lakers on the night. His shooting was a key reason why. Bradley shot 5-of-7 overall with a 3-of-4 clip from deep and helped keep the lead afloat, but he only played 17 minutes. The Lakers needed more shotmaking and perimeter defense, but Bradley was pulled early.

Rajon Rondo: C-minus

Rajon Rondo put up seven points and six assists in 16 minutes, and he particularly stood out in the first half. However, he couldn’t make an impact while the game slipped away from Los Angeles.

Dwight Howard: F

Dwight Howard accumulated five fouls in 14 minutes, which basically summed up his night.

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