Laker Grades is a new weekly feature that examines the best and the worst of the purple and gold from the last seven days.
Kendall Marshall nears a triple-double against the Thunder:
It’s amazing this guy was in the D-League just a few short months ago. Marshall continued to prove he belongs on basketball’s brightest stage with 14 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds against the Thunder on Thursday. It was his fourth game with 15-plus assists since taking the reins of Mike D’Antoni’s offense and also his 11th double-double.
L.A. controls league-best Oklahoma City for 42 minutes:
Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff, as well as Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, were all New Orleans bound for All-Star weekend after Thursday’s game against the Lakers but it looked like they already had gumbo on the mind come tipoff. The Lakers took advantage, leading by as many as 15 and never trailing until Durant hit a go-ahead jumper with just more than six minutes remaining. Whether moral victories really count for anything or not in the grand scheme of things, the Lakers – who dressed just eight healthy players for the game – should be commended for giving the 43-14 Thunder all it could handle.
Shawne Williams makes his case:
Shawne Williams was already waived by the Lakers once this season and wanted to make the best impression he could playing in his last game before his current 10-day contract expires to make sure he doesn’t get waived again. Williams put up 15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal against the Thunder. Even though the stretch 4 is a D’Antoni favorite, his fate will be likely sealed by a combination of what the Lakers do at the trade deadline and which players return to the lineup healthy, rather than what he does on the court.
Steve Nash suffers a setback:
After Nash turned back the clock with a splendid 19-point performance on his 40th birthday to secure a road win in Philadelphia, his body failed him the very next game as Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich made contact with Nash’s left leg near the same exact spot the veteran point guard broke his leg last season and Nash had to exit the 92-86 loss before halftime. He tried to give it a go against Utah the next game and again had to shut it down at the half. Nash sat out against the Thunder, but said he hopes to play again after the All-Star break.
Big lead disappears against the lowly Jazz:
It may have been rock bottom in a season full of lowlights. The Lakers, fresh off an encouraging 2-1 road trip and that hard-fought loss to the Bulls, ran out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter against the cellar-dwelling Jazz and ended up losing by 17. Then again, they won the battle for draft lottery positioning for the night.