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LA continues to build momentum

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to play shorthanded without LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell, as well as backup center Mo Bamba, who is out with a sprained ankle. But they continue to find ways to prosper.

On Tuesday, they faced the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that was also depleted, as it was without Ja Morant, Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke.

Both teams struggled offensively early on, and after falling behind by seven early in the second quarter, LA fought back to make it a one-point game at halftime. Down the stretch, both teams went back and forth, as neither squad was able to go ahead by more than two possessions until the final moments.

That’s when the Lakers really tightened up their defense, and behind yet another dominant all-around performance from Anthony Davis, they emerged victorious, 112-103.

They have now won seven of their last 10 games since the players acquired in the Russell Westbrook trade debuted. In addition, the win elevated them to the ninth spot in the Western Conference, and they are now just two games out of the sixth place.

Anthony Davis: A/A+

Davis got off to another hot start with 13 points and nine rebounds in the first quarter. After he was quiet in the second and third quarters, he came on strong in the final period with 11 more points, giving him 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting.

He was also dominant in other areas, as he gobbled up 22 rebounds, blocked two shots and added three assists.

The one blemish for Davis tonight was his seven turnovers. The Grizzlies had success knocking the ball away from him, but luckily, LA was able to protect the ball overall with just 13 total turnovers.

But make no mistake: Davis is carrying the Lakers with James out.

Jarred Vanderbilt: B/B+

Vanderbilt grabbed eight rebounds in just 24 minutes, and he got himself a couple of easy dunks by moving without the ball and becoming the recipient of some nice passes from his teammates.

He showed off his skills by grabbing two defensive rebounds in the first quarter and leading the fast break both times. Vanderbilt also made a couple of nice passes off the dribble to open teammates near the hoop.

Lakers fans were expecting an energetic rebounder and defender when the team acquired him, but they have gotten even more than that.

Troy Brown Jr.: B/B+

Brown continues to be hot from 3-point range. He hit 3-of-6 shots from that distance tonight, allowing him to score 13 points, to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 33 minutes.

He had arguably the most exciting play of the game in the third quarter when he stole the ball from John Konchar, dunked on him during the ensuing fast break, got fouled and completed the 3-point play.

Dennis Schroder: B/B+

Schroder’s shooting efficiency has been up and down all season, and tonight he was just 5-of-14 from the field while missing all three of his attempts from downtown.

But those numbers aren’t exactly indicative of how valuable he has been to the Lakers of late. He has filled in ably for the injured Russell, helping to replace his ball-handling and facilitating. Schroder dished out nine assists against just two turnovers while also adding six rebounds in 35 minutes.

Malik Beasley: D

Beasley continues to struggle, as he converted just 2-of-10 shots overall and 1-of-6 from downtown. He finished with five points, five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes, and sooner or later, he will have to go on one of his customary hot streaks to help the Lakers get into the playoffs.

Rui Hachimura: A

This is the type of game the Lakers need from Hachimura. He went 7-of-11 and scored 17 points, to go along with six rebounds in 28 minutes. He did a good job of striking from the mid-range, which is his bread and butter.

With his help, LA’s bench, which has been potent lately, outscored its Memphis counterpart 42-30.

Wenyen Gabriel: D

Gabriel was practically invisible tonight. He played 14 minutes, which is more than he has played lately, and he scored one basket, but he failed to grab any rebounds, which is odd for a high-energy player like him.

Austin Reaves: A

Reaves continues to go on a tear. He shot 6-of-13 and scored 17 points while distributing seven assists in 33 minutes. He has been doing a good job of picking and choosing when he attacks downhill, and good things tend to happen when he does so, as he often tends to either score, set up a teammate or draw a foul.

Lonnie Walker IV:D

Tuesday was a struggle for Walker, who played 16 minutes and shot just 3-of-9 while making all four of his 3-point attempts. He finished with six points, two rebounds, one assist and two turnovers.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

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