Lakers player grades: LeBron James, Stanley Johnson lead win vs. Jazz

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The Los Angeles Lakers got back to .500 after a convincing win against the Utah Jazz, 101-95.

Los Angeles came into this game looking to bounce back after getting drubbed by the Denver Nuggets by 37 points, but playing against the Jazz (now 29-15) presented a difficult opponent to defeat.

However, the Lakers held their own in the first half and even posted an 11-point lead during the second quarter. But that lead didn’t last long, as Utah answered with a 32-20 difference in the third quarter.

The Jazz took a 10-point lead, but the Lakers showed their resilience. Stanley Johnson was the catalyst in the final quarter, where he scored 10 of his 15 points.

Los Angeles came back to win and are now 22-22 on the season. Here is how the squad graded:

Russell Westbrook: C

Russell Westbrook played 28 minutes in this game, and he was not seen for long stretches during the second half. He came in with four minutes remaining to close things out and made a key and-1 layup in transition, even though the optics of the situation (40 seconds left in the game) meant he should’ve killed the clock more. His biggest play was posterizing Rudy Gobert, but his shooting could’ve been sharper.

Westbrook finished with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting, eight rebounds and three assists.

Avery Bradley: D-plus

Avery Bradley didn’t impact the game significantly in this one. His key play was hitting a corner triple off a pass from Johnson that built the lead late in the fourth quarter. His shooting has been rough the last few games, but that was a big bucket at the perfect time.

LeBron James: A-minus

LeBron James finished with 25 points (9-of-20 FG, 3-of-8 3P), seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one block in 37 minutes. He forced some contested shots, but his biggest knock was his free throws. James converted just 4-of-8 attempts from the charity stripe, which played an important factor in the Lakers shooting 14-of-23 (60.9) overall. Fortunately, his miscues there didn’t cost L.A. the game. Utah made 21-of-24, good for 87.5%.

Trevor Ariza: D-minus

Trevor Ariza got the start at power forward to match up against Utah’s size, but he either missed shots or forced tough ones. He shot 1-of-8 overall and 1-of-6 from deep, but his defense was solid for most of the night. The Lakers ended up getting better production from Johnson instead, so Ariza needs to improve in the next game.

Dwight Howard: B-minus

Dwight Howard started to match Gobert’s physicality. He played 22 minutes and posted four points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks in his time on the court. His presence when Gobert went to the bench helped avert Utah’s smaller lineups from attacking the rim, though the Lakers ended up adjusting and went small as well to pull Gobert out of the paint on defense. Howard still showed he can be useful in specific matchups.

Talen Horton-Tucker: B

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting overall with a 1-of-3 clip from deep and added one block. His grade went down because he went just 2-of-5 from the charity stripe, but he also showed off his defensive potential when guarding guards like Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. The Lakers ended up using Horton-Tucker to close out the game, a good sign for a player in good form.

Stanley Johnson: A-plus

If an A-plus-plus was a thing, then Johnson would’ve received the grade. He was simply phenomenal in this one, primarily in the fourth quarter. His scoring around the rim gave L.A. life, and he made several imperative plays on the defensive end to get possessions for his team. Johnson finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 25 minutes. Just an incredible display after signing his third 10-day contract with the team.

Austin Reaves: A-minus

Austin Reaves did all the things that don’t show up on the box score. His IQ on both ends of the floor shined during his 25 minutes. The only knock on his grade was missing both of his 3s, but he had an absurd tip-in on his own missed shot.

Malik Monk: A-minus

Malik Monk came off the bench tonight but still chipped in 14 points off the bench. He shot 6-of-12 overall but hit just 2-of-6 from deep. He added seven rebounds, one assist and one steal and left it all on the floor. He should return to the starting lineup when size isn’t an issue, and it was promising to see him maintain his rhythm in a different role.

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