Lakers player grades: Another painful loss to the Celtics

Last month, when the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Boston Celtics, they overcame a big deficit to take a 13-point lead with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter – only to blow their advantage and lose by four points in overtime.

When the two teams faced off in Boston on Saturday, it was a similar story.

Although the Lakers never played well offensively, they took a 54-48 halftime lead on the strength of their defense. They stretched their lead to as many as 11 points, but Boston charged back and forced overtime.

Once there, Los Angeles had itself to blame due to several miscues, which helped lead to a 125-121 loss.

Close losses continue to be a problem for LeBron James and company. They have now dropped four games by five points or less in January alone, while also falling to 10-15 on the road.

LeBron James: A

James continues to play at a ridiculous level at age 38 while nearing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for most career points. He scored 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting while adding nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Celtics’ transition defense was on point for much of the game, forcing L.A. into the type of grind-it-out affair it has trouble with, but James was still able to convert 6-of-12 from 3-point range despite limited opportunities to attack the basket and play downhill.

Unfortunately, the referees apparently robbed James and the Lakers at the end of regulation.

With 4.1 seconds left in regulation, James drove the basket, looking to win the game. He missed what would’ve been the game-winning layup, and although replays clearly showed that he got fouled, no call was made.

He was understandably upset, and in the end, L.A. only had itself to blame, as it came down to essentially a five-minute contest afterward.

Troy Brown Jr.: D-

Brown got four rebounds in 27 minutes, but he went just 1-of-7 from the field and missed all five of his 3-point attempts.

Thomas Bryant: C+

Bryant did a decent job on the boards with six rebounds in 19 minutes. However, the Lakers couldn’t get him involved on offense, as he got off only one shot attempt and scored just three points.

Patrick Beverley: B

It was a mixed bag for Beverley tonight. He played well offensively, shooting 5-of-10 overall and 4-of-7 from downtown to finish with 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 36 minutes.

In crunch time, he made some big plays, but he also cost the Lakers.

In the final minute of regulation, he hit a 3-pointer to put them ahead by two, then moments later, he came out of nowhere to dunk a missed 3-pointer by Anthony Davis to allow them to regain a two-point advantage.

But after Jaylen Brown missed a trey, Beverley was fouled and made just one of two free throws. Then Brown scored and was fouled by Beverley, leading to a 3-point play that tied the game.

Right after James missed his layup at the end of regulation, Beverley showed one of the officials the supposed non-call on a camera and was assessed a technical foul, which gave Boston a free point on a foul shot by Jayson Tatum.

However, Beverley, who often found himself matched up on Tatum defensively, helped force him into an 8-of-25 clunker with six turnovers.

Dennis Schroder: B-/B

Schroder missed all five of his 3-point attempts, but he shot 6-of-12 overall by attacking the basket at opportune times. He scored 13 points, to go along with three assists and two rebounds in 38 minutes.

Anthony Davis: C+/B-

Offensively, Davis failed to take advantage of being guarded by smaller players such as Malcolm Brogdon for a good amount of the contest. He shot just 6-of-15, and perhaps some of the blame should fall on his teammates for not getting him the ball early enough in the shot clock in his sweet spots.

Davis did grab 10 rebounds and log four assists in 34 minutes, but he did not block a single shot.

Rui Hachimura: C+

In his second game as a Laker, Hachimura struggled offensively. He went 3-of-8 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. He finished with six points, four boards and one assist in 24 minutes.

Russell Westbrook: C-

It was a struggle for Westbrook, who missed his first six shots and finished 4-of-14 while committing five turnovers. He did manage to dish off seven assists in 25 minutes, however, to help his team’s cause.

Westbrook didn’t play down the stretch of the fourth quarter, but he was inserted in overtime, and he immediately scored on a putback while getting fouled (he missed the ensuing free throw however).

Moments later, he drew a flagrant foul on a fast break layup attempt and made both free throws. But he missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, and moments later, he missed a reverse layup and didn’t see an open James in the corner behind the 3-point line.

Lonnie Walker IV: A

In his first game back from a bout with knee tendinitis, Walker gave the Lakers a lift off the bench. He played 18 minutes and shot 6-of-8, including a made 3-pointer, giving him 13 points, to go along with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire