The Los Angeles Lakers lost in blowout fashion to the San Antonio Spurs, 138-110.
This marked the final game under the Staples Center name before the building switches to Crypto.com Arena, but L.A. failed to send the historic name off in a good manner.
San Antonio’s bench made the impact immediately, and Los Angeles couldn’t claw back into the game once trailing by double-digits.
LeBron James had 23 points at the half to carry the Lakers and finished with 36. Russell Westbrook erupted in the third quarter and ended the game with 30 points, but the duo didn’t receive enough help to win the game.
Keita Bates-Diop, in particular, stole the show. He scored 30 points off the bench on 11-of-11 shooting. Lonnie Walker IV added 21 points off the bench, while the Lakers didn’t have any reserves hit double-figures in points.
Here is how the Lakers, now 16-17, graded individually from the embarrassing loss:
Russell Westbrook: B-minus
Russell Westbrook had a relatively quiet first half but energized the team in the third quarter when he emerged as a downhill attacker; he even pulled up for a triple off a Carmelo Anthony screen. He finished with 30 points (12-of-20 FG, 5-of-9 FT), seven rebounds, four assists and a steal, but five turnovers and ball-watching too often on defense dropped his grade. The Lakers played horrifically on the defensive end all night, and Westbrook played into that.
Wayne Ellington: F
Wayne Ellington gets a second straight F as a starter. He finished the game with seven points but shot 1-of-7 from 3-point range. He made two floaters in the first half when he put the ball down on the floor and attacked the closeout, but that was it for his night. He can’t be a sharpshooter and shoot that poorly.
Talen Horton-Tucker: D
Talen Horton-Tucker’s shooting improved from the last game when he went 1-of-13 from the field. Tonight, he shot 5-of-13 for 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. He was the only Laker not named LeBron or Westbrook that scored in double-figures, but he had questionable shot choices on a good chunk of his attempts.
LeBron James: A
LeBron was the sole reason this game wasn’t a blowout in the first half. He finished with 36 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal on 15-of-26 shooting overall, but he clearly looked gassed in the fourth quarter and was pulled with five minutes remaining. The Lakers just don’t have enough players to help James consistently, so he ends up carrying the workload. That’s not a recipe for success without Anthony Davis.
Dwight Howard: C-minus
Dwight Howard got the start instead of DeAndre Jordan, but he played the lowest minutes of any starter (22). Howard put up four points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks in that span and made more of an impact than Jordan usually does, but he wasn’t an optimal fit for spacing reasons.
Carmelo Anthony: D-minus
Carmelo Anthony usually shines in Staples Center, but that was far from the case tonight. He shot 1-of-5 from deep and 2-of-5 from the charity stripe for nine points. He led all bench scorers for the Lakers but in an inefficient manner and didn’t make much of an impact on defense apart from a steal and a block.
Isaiah Thomas: F
Isaiah Thomas and Anthony were the only bench players to hit over 20 minutes. Thomas, however, struggled again with just two points, which came on a long two-pointer. He went 1-of-5 from the field and 0-of-3 from downtown. His 10-day contract is coming to a close, and he didn’t end it on a high note. He might still return if the Lakers don’t get more guards back from health and safety protocol.