In the NBA and the wider sports community, Tuesday night was noteworthy. The league’s all-time scoring record had been held by fellow Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar since 1984, until LeBron James smashed it.
On a fadeaway jumper at the conclusion of the third quarter, he overtook Abdul-Jabbar, and the game was halted as both Abdul-Jabbar and NBA commissioner Adam Silver celebrated James’ achievement.
But everyone has been concentrating on the team, even LeBron James, and the Lakers once again delivered a lacklustre performance, this time against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles’ defensive problems persisted as they gave up 76 points in the first half and struggled to hold off a youthful Thunder team, who defeated the Lakers 133-130.
King James: A
James had the night off. In addition to setting a new record for points scored, he also finished with 38 points on 13 of 20 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
He took some time to get going, but in the second quarter, he really got rolling. At Crypto.com Arena, there was a feeling that Abdul-record Jabbar’s might fall that night when he had 20 points at halftime.
Sadly, he appeared to lose a lot of momentum following that. In the fourth quarter, he only attempted two shots and connected on one.
C for Anthony Davis
Davis had a fairly quiet night, hitting only nine shot attempts, six of which were successful, for a total of 13 points in 31 minutes.
It was relatively comprehensible why Davis didn’t rack up many points. Getting James the ball so he could break the record was the main goal. Although his teammates often do a good job of finding him the ball, Davis could have been much more active offensively and focused on doing so.
It was a rare night when the big man’s effect was not noticed despite his eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one blocked shot.
By Rui Hachimura
Once again, Hachimura didn’t contribute much to the Lakers’ offence in the first half. However, as time went on, particularly when James broke the scoring mark, the team began to focus more on getting the ball to him, and he started to act a bit more aggressively.
He made 5-of-7 shots in 26 minutes, including his lone 3-point attempt, and ended with 14 points and six rebounds.
B-minus for Patrick Beverley.
Beverley converted two of his three 3-point tries, giving him seven points and five assists in 24 minutes. His three shot attempts were all 3-pointers.
His protection was ineffective, however, and the guards from Oklahoma City opened fire. Backcourt partner Josh Giddey scored 20 points on 10-of-19 shooting, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
B+ for Dennis Schroder
On a night like this, the Lakers might have benefited from more offensive production from Schroder. In 32 minutes, he finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and three assists.
On a few occasions, he was defensively paired up with Gilgeous-Alexander, and he did a fantastic job on the Thunder star by preventing dribble penetration and often forcing him to turn the ball over.
B for Troy Brown Jr.
Brown contributed and shot effectively, shooting 4-of-6 overall and 1-of-2 from deep. In 22 minutes, he ended with nine points and six rebounds.
B Thomas Bryant
Bryant seemed to have handled his reduced role rather well. In 17 minutes, he had five rebounds, four points, one assist, and one block.
Westbrook, Russell: B
With 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-7 from outside the arc, eight assists, two steals, and a great block on Jaylin Williams, Westbrook had a good night statistically. Sadly, it was a little deceiving.
He made six mistakes, and two of them came on errant fast-break passes downcourt that were completely out of character for him. His many layup misses also hindered the Lakers’ attempts to overcome a double-digit deficit.
Walker, Lonnie IV: B
Walker now plays a smaller supporting role than Bryant off the bench. By scoring eight points in 19 minutes and making two of his five 3-point tries, he contributed to the Lakers’ cause.
Austin Reaves: Not enough
Reaves returned to the field of play after missing nearly a month due to a hamstring injury. He just played for seven minutes, but it was obvious that he was out of practise since he missed a wide-open 3-point attempt and failed to score.