The Los Angeles Lakers badly needed a victory on Monday when they faced the Houston Rockets in order to end their three-game losing streak.
They got that victory by the final score of 140-132, although it wasn’t too pretty.
In some ways, the Lakers were very robust offensively, as they shot 53.8 percent from the field and set a franchise-low with only two turnovers. But they played in peaks and valleys, especially defensively.
Los Angeles started to build a lead in the second quarter by igniting their fast break and hitting the offensive boards for some second-chance opportunities. It finished with 27 fast-break points on the night, but the Rockets kept fighting back and making things too close for comfort.
In the end though, the Lakers will take the win, no matter how imperfect it was.
LeBron James: A+
James had good energy tonight despite playing in the second game of a back-to-back set of games. He was actually downgraded from probable to questionable just prior to the start of the game, but he still managed to have a monster outing.
The 38-year-old finished with a season-high 48 points on 16-of-26 shooting while also going 11-of-12 from the free throw line and adding eight rebounds and nine assists. James also managed to go 5-of-10 from 3-point range, which was a pleasant surprise given his struggles in that department all season long.
Troy Brown Jr.: B-
Brown hit 2-of-4 shots from the field, all of which were 3-pointers, and he finished with six points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot in 30 minutes.
When he is hitting from downtown, it is a much-welcomed bonus for LA
Bryant went just 1-of-6 from the floor and scored six points in 18 minutes, as he got multiple shots blocked at the rim. Defensively, he did little, if anything, to slow down Rockets center Alperen Sengun, who shot 14-of-17 and scored 33 points while also putting up 15 rebounds, six assists and four rejections.
On a more positive note, Bryant did manage to grab six rebounds and block two shots of his own.
Patrick Beverley: B+/A-
Beverley hit a couple of early 3-pointers, and overall he was 3-of-6 from the field, with all of his shot attempts coming from beyond the arc. He had 11 points, two rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes.
Schroder continued his recent struggles on Monday by going just 3-of-9 from the field. However, he had a big 3-point play with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter, and he also added three assists against zero turnovers in 33 minutes.
Gabriel made Houston feel his presence by hitting the boards and converting time and again at or near the rim. He scored 14 points, took down nine rebounds and blocked two shots in 24 minutes.
Defensively, he had his struggles trying to guard Sengun, which resulted in him spending time in foul trouble and ultimately fouling out with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter.
Juan Toscano-Anderson: B
Toscano-Anderson had seven points, three assists and two rebounds in 16 minutes, and he finally flashed a bit of his outside shooting ability. He knocked down a 3-pointer in the second quarter to beat the shot clock, making it only the second game since Nov. 11 in which he hit a shot from that distance.
Westbrook continued his recent tear with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers. His ability to attack the rim, push the pace and hit the open man has no doubt helped take some of the load off James’ shoulders and helped him remain fresh to this point.
Nunn gave Los Angeles a nice lift off the bench by scoring 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes.
Max Christie: Incomplete
Christie came in for five minutes and made no contribution to the stat sheet.