Charlotte Bobcats vs. LA Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Lakers

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Charlotte Bobcats vs. LA Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Even without Kemba Walker, the Charlotte Bobcats (21-27) had no problem taking care of the Los Angeles Lakers (16-31) in a 110-100 rout on Friday night. 

The Lakers have now lost six games in a row and, according to ESPN's Arash Markazi, dropped 12 games in a single month for the first time since 1964. 

Matched up against the league's No. 28-ranked offense, the Lakers allowed the Bobcats to walk all over their ragged defense. Charlotte scored 31 points in both the first and second quarters, which set the tone for a wire-to-wire thrashing. 

On a night when the Lakers allowed the Bobcats to shoot 52 percent from the field, the Purple and Gold countered by knocking down 30 percent of their looks, including 23 percent of their threes. 

"They just weren't ready to play, for whatever reason," head coach Mike D'Antoni said of his troops, according to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding

Al Jefferson was dominant in 39 minutes, tying a career high with 40 points (18-of-32 shooting) while pulling down 18 rebounds. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 24 points and nine boards.  

 

Key Players

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol, Center

No surprise here: Gasol was the center of all things offense for the Lakers against the Bobcats and operated as the focal point to the tune of 24 points (9-of-17 shooting) as well as nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

And by scoring 24 points, Gasol has now dropped at least 20 points in 10 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 14. 

Early returns from Gasol were promising, as the Spaniard scored 12 first-half points on 5-of-8 shooting and was one of two Lakers players to finish the opening 24 minutes in double figures, but that was as good as things would get. 

Defending the extremely efficient Jefferson was a whole different story entirely. 

Despite moderate success against Charlotte's center early, the story quickly changed as the Bobcats tortured the Lakers down low from start to finish, scoring 34 points in the paint in the first half and 64 overall. 

It's a familiar trope, but Gasol simply can't match his efforts on the offensive end with comparable ones on the other half of the floor.  

Grade: C

 

Nick Young, Sixth Man

Nick Young entered Friday night having shot worse than 50 percent from the field in his previous five games while scoring fewer than 20 points in his past four contests.

The good news was that Young rediscovered a small, small bit of the scoring touch that has made him a viable Sixth Man of the Year candidate by racking up 21 points in 36 minutes. 

However, Young wasn't able to score the ball efficiently whatsoever after going ice cold in the second half. He shot 36 percent from the field and 29 percent from three while getting to the free-throw line four times. 

Grade: D-

 

Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Prior to squaring off against the Bobcats, Jodie Meeks was averaging 18.9 points over 14 games in the month of January.

That productivity was somewhat sustained on a night when the Lakers' wings collectively struggled with their shots, as the three-point shootout hopeful totaled 19 points on 5-of-15 shooting (3-of-10 from three). 

The real issue, though, was Meeks' inability to defend the stronger and more assertive Gerald Henderson, who seemingly found open looks easy to come by all night long. Henderson torched the Lakers by scoring 20 points on 9-of-19 shooting in the win. 

With Meeks on the court, the Lakers were minus-17 on the evening. 

Grade: C-

 

Kendall Marshall, Point Guard

The NBA's leading three-point shooter prior to the loss, Kendall Marshall didn't have a particularly eventful outing on the offensive end, scoring 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting (0-of-3 from three) while dishing out a team-high 12 assists. 

In fact, the more interesting takeaway from Marshall's effort on Friday was that D'Antoni sought to stick him on the Bobcats' least threatening offensive player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.  

Marshall also surrendered nine points to Bobcats third-string point guard Jannero Pargo in the first half on a tidy 4-of-5 shooting. 

Despite all of the positive passing and scoring numbers Marshall has contributed during his brief stint as the Lakers' starting point guard, the former North Carolina Tar Heel continues to fail L.A. on the defensive end, where he's a complete liability. There's been no evidence to suggest otherwise.  

Unfortunately, even with Steve Nash and Steve Blake's returns on the horizon, according to the Orange County Register's Bill Oram, the Lakers are stuck without a reliable defensive stopper at the point. 

Grade: D

 

Wesley Johnson, Small Forward

It was all downhill for Wesley Johnson after he drilled a 20-foot jumper 4:30 into the first quarter.  

As Lakers fans have come to expect, Johnson didn't do anything to separate himself in the jump shooting department, hitting on one of his five attempts while scoring a meager three points and securing five rebounds. An air ball from beyond the arc was part of that uninspiring package, too. 

Grade: F

 

Ryan Kelly, Power Forward

After scoring two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 15 first-half minutes, Ryan Kelly was benched in favor of Jordan Hill to open the second half in order to combat Charlotte's size.

While it didn't really make a difference who was logging minutes alongside Gasol (they were all equally inept on the defensive end), D'Antoni's lineup switch spoke to the lack of confidence he had in the second-round pick to match up with Josh McRoberts. 

That said, Kelly was one of five Lakers to finish in double figures, dropping 13 points (4-of-10 shooting, 1-of-4 from three), including a four-point play in the third quarter. Those second-half buckets saved his night. 

Grade: C-

 

Bench

In the first quarter, L.A.'s reserve big men were in a world of hurt as they attempted to defend Jefferson in Gasol's stead. That didn't go so well.  

Without getting too detailed, the Lakers' second unit—which averaged 41.2 points per game (No. 2 overall) entering Friday nightwas a major disappointment. 

Outside of Young, scoring was hard to come by, and all reserves not nicknamed Swaggy P combined to tally 10 points, led by six and five rebounds from Robert Sacre. 

Grade: F

 

What's Next?

The Lakers will have three days off before traveling to the Midwest for a showdown with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday. 

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