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Sunday, April 13, 2014
Lakers Grades: April 5-12

By Dave McMenamin

Laker Grades is a weekly feature that examines the best and the worst of the purple and gold from the last seven days.

GradeMitch Kupchak gets a contract extension:


Hardly anything went right for the Lakers this season. The only thing worse than losing is losing without a plan in place. The Lakers took care of the latter by inking general manager Kupchak to a contract extension, as first reported by ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne last week. While the terms of the deal were undisclosed, the Lakers confirmed that Kupchak will be back calling the shots on a multiyear agreement. Kupchak, who has been with the Lakers organization since retiring as a player in 1986, was called the best GM in the league by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey earlier this season. He should give L.A. a steady voice up top as the team navigates a difficult period of upheaval.

GradeSteve Nash moves into third on the career assists list:


Nash would be the first to admit his time in L.A. hasn’t gone at all according to plan, but he was able to reach a major achievement as a member of the purple and gold nonetheless. With his fifth assist against the Rockets on Tuesday -- an outlet pass leading to a Jodie Meeks dunk on the break -- Nash notched assist No. 10,335 of his career, passing Mark Jackson for No. 3 on the all-time list. He now trails only John Stockton (15,806 assists) and Jason Kidd (12,091) in the history books. Unfortunately, Nash aggravated his hamstring against Houston and said he “probably” will not play again this season after setting the record.

GradeJodie Meeks keeps on scoring:


Before a clunker of a 2-for-12 night against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, Meeks was having one of his best weeks of the season on the offensive end. The fifth-year shooting guard scored 25 points against the Dallas Mavericks, 17 against the Los Angeles Clippers and 30 against the Rockets, shooting a combined 28-for-53 (52.8 percent) in the three games. Meeks is a lock when considering which player on the Lakers roster is most improved from last season and could very well receive some votes for the most improved player award for the league at large.

GradeClippers embarrass the Lakers for the third straight time:


That 116-103 win by the Lakers over the Clippers on opening night seems like a distant memory after the Clippers beat the Lakers 120-97 last Sunday to take the season series 3-1. As bad as the 23-point loss was -- with the Lakers allowing the Clips to shoot 56.6 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from 3 -- it was actually an improvement from the Lakers’ past two losses to the Clippers -- by 48 points in March and by 36 points in January.

GradeLakers get trounced by Dwight Howard-less Rockets:


When you score 130 points in a game, you’re supposed to win. The Lakers somehow managed to do that and still get blown out, losing 145-130 to Houston last week. The game was terrible for L.A. for a lot of reasons -- getting outscored 49-29 in the third quarter, allowing James Harden and Terrence Jones to score 33 points apiece and getting walloped 80-46 in points in the paint -- but perhaps the toughest pill to swallow for Lakers fans was seeing Howard rocking magenta pants on the Rockets bench as he laughed along and enjoyed the victory.