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Make no mistake about it, this was a big win for the Lakers last night as they improved their record to 6-5 while handing the Brooklyn Nets only their 3rd loss on the year.

With Coach D making his sideline debut, the Lakers came out with a ton of energy to start the game and even had a 10-0 lead at one point. That’s when Brooklyn started to warm up, show some fight, and eventually turn this into a tough, physical contest.

This was one of those games that will help propel this Lakers team down the road because the game was tight in the 4th quarter as the Lakers had to claw their way back with great execution and stingy defense. Let’s see how this nice victory will translate into the upcoming road trip with games in Sacramento, Memphis, and Dallas. Regardless, here are the grades for last night’s W:

Darius Morris: B-

Guarding Deron Williams is no easy task for any point guard, let alone a second year 3rd string point guard. Interesting to see how much playing time Darius will get once the Steve’s return after seeing how well he plays in transition.

Kobe Bryant: A-

Did anyone really think Kobe would miss any of those last minute free throws, especially after Gerald Wallace made the fatal mistake of trash talking the Mamba? Teams can’t employ the “Hack-a-Dwight” in the last two minutes of a game so it’s nice to have someone like Kobe, and Nash when he returns, that are almost automatic in those late game pressure situations.

Metta World Peace: A-

Great game on both sides of the floor for Metta as he was everywhere tonight (even rubbing Avery Johnson’s head) when it came to hustling for loose balls, something this team missed dearly from him last year as he was injured/out of shape. If Metta continues to hit his 3’s like he has been, this team will thrive when Nash returns.

Pau Gasol: A-

One of those games where something clicks in Pau’s head and he has that fire burning in his gut when he grabs a rebound. When Pau is angry, which is almost never, he is a monster on the boards and that is exactly what this team needs to go along with Dwight’s tenacious rebounding.

Dwight Howard: A-

If Dwight would have made all of his free throws, he was 7-19, he would have finished with 35 points and this game would not have been as close as it was. This will be an issue for this team going forward, but when the guy impacts the game in so many other ways, you just kind of have to live with it.

Jordan Hill: B-

While he didn’t fill up the stat sheet, J. Hill brought the hustle as usual. He even showed us a sweet spin move with a left handed finish that got the Staples Center excited

Antawn Jamison: C-

Antawn didn’t play much and he did quite the disappearing act for the 9 minutes that he was on the floor. Like I’ve said before, we need less 3-point attempts and more posting and cutting.

Chris Duhon: B-

Decent game for Duhon as he played under control and chose when to step up and shoot.

Jodie Meeks: C-

Poor game for Jodie as he continues to struggle to make an impact. The two offseason signings to boost the bench have not shown us anything so far.