Portland entered the game ranked No. 29 in defensive rating, and Los Angeles took advantage of that from the start. The Lakers dropped 43 points in the first quarter and led by 15.
LeBron James, in particular, had the hot hand from the get-go. He made his first four field goals and had put up 27 points at the end of the first half. That dominance persisted in the second half. James finished the game with 43 points to easily lead all scorers.
Los Angeles led by 35 in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
Here is how the Lakers, now 18-19, graded individually from the victory:
Russell Westbrook posted his fourth straight triple-double, this time going against Damian Lillard. Westbrook won the battle between the two, even though he didn’t look to score often. Westbrook finished the game with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and two steals.
The former MVP missed all three of his 3-pointers, but that means he shot 5-of-7 from inside the arc. His plus-29 rating marked a game-high.
Malik Monk: A
Malik Monk recently said he wants to be a consistent player for the Lakers. That consistency continued tonight. Monk dropped 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting overall and 2-of-5 shooting from deep. He made several highlight-worthy finishes around the rim to cap off a solid two-way performance.
Avery Bradley stuck to his role and did what he needed to do. He finished with five points and made his only 3-point attempt. His main job was to slow Lillard and Norman Powell at the point of attack on defense, which he played a key part in. Lillard shot 1-of-8 from deep; Powell went 0-of-5. That’s all the Lakers needed from Bradley tonight.
Stanley Johnson: A
Stanley Johnson re-entered the starting lineup because the Trail Blazers deployed a much smaller starting five than the Memphis Grizzlies. Johnson was another player who stuck to his role as a 3-and-D player. He put up 10 points, three rebounds and two assists while knocking down 2-of-3 shots from downtown. Not much else the Lakers needed from him.
LeBron James: A-plus
If an A-plus-plus was a thing, which it could be in this scenario, then it applies to LeBron’s ridiculous outing. He has now scored at least 30 points in seven straight games. Tonight, he poured 43 points on Portland on 16-of-26 shooting overall and a 5-of-10 clip from deep. He added 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. He also didn’t turn the ball over once. No superlatives to describe what he’s doing right now.
Carmelo Anthony: A
Carmelo Anthony entered the game on fire, getting his first three triples to go in a night where he scored 16 points against his former team. He shot 6-of-11 overall and 4-of-7 from deep to pair with three blocks. His night ended early because of the blowout.
Austin Reaves: B
Austin Reaves made his first appearance since Dec. 15 when he hit the game-winning shot against the Dallas Mavericks. His shot looked rusty at first, but he scored 10 points in the final quarter, including a tough left-handed and-1 layup over two defenders. His ball movement and defensive presence shined before his offense picked up to end the game.
Talen Horton-Tucker: B-plus
Talen Horton-Tucker had trouble finding a rhythm lately, and it didn’t help that he had to adjust to a new bench role. Tonight, however, he found holes in Portland’s defense to gain some momentum. He made all six of his free throws and shot 2-of-4 overall for a 10-point night and made some good blocks on defense. The Lakers must hope he can build on this going forward.
Trevor Ariza: B
Trevor Ariza also made his return from health and safety protocol, going for three points, four rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes. His wing and forward defense will be important for L.A. going forward.