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Players Grades: Lakers vs. Thunder

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 133-110 loss to the Thunder

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

You know what would be cool? If the Lakers got healthy.

That day could be coming very soon, but that day wasn’t on Thursday against the Thunder. Down to seven non-rookies available, on the second night of a back-to-back, on their third game in four nights and on the final game of their four-game road trip, it was truly shocking the Lakers even had a quarter as good as the one they had in the first.

But one quarter was all they had in them and the remaining three quarters swung wildly the other way. It’s hard to keep taking some sort of big picture view but the Lakers are in a good position considering the injuries they’ve had to deal with.

Again, though, that doesn’t make Thursday any less annoying.

Let’s grade the loss. As always, grades are based on expectations for each player. A “B” grade represents the average performance for that player.

Taurean Prince

32 minutes, 6 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound, 2-7 FG, 2-5 3PT, -10

No one is going to benefit more from the return of Jarred Vanderbilt than Prince for multiple reasons. Once Vando is healthy, he will almost certainly take back his role in the starting lineup and the defensive asks of Prince will change.

But he was woeful again on Thursday. He hit a couple of shots early and made it seem like we were in store for a great night and then missed everything else he took the rest of the way.

Staying out of foul trouble with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a fool’s errand, so I won’t knock him too much for that. Plus, his offense was bad enough to warrant a bad grade.

Grade: D

LeBron James

35 minutes, 21 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 7-12 FG, 4-8 3PT, 3-4 FT, -18

I have to commend LeBron for this performance because, even if it was far from his best statistically, he was putting forth effort. Even late in the game, when the Lakers were down big, LeBron was still hustling.

Multiple times in the second half, LeBron was left visibly exhausted, bent over on the baseline after some sort of miscue, the last of those being the blocked Anthony Davis dunk that effectively ended the game.

There are nights when you can question LeBron’s effort level. That was not the case on Thursday.

Grade: B

Anthony Davis

36 minutes, 31 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 11-18 FG, 0-1 3PT, 9-10 FT, -12

It’s hard to find much fault in AD’s performance. He was dominant from the jump and imposed himself against an undersized Thunder team. The team also had a clear focus on getting him the ball,

Defensively, AD tried to plug holes but there were too many. There’s only so much you can ask him to do. You just wish this type of aggressive AD would show up more during the season.

Grade: A

Max Christie

21 minutes, 8 points, 2 steals, 1 block, 3-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, -2

No one represents the Lakers’ issues more than Max Christie. From Nov. 10 through Nov. 19, a span of six games, he had one contest where he played rotation minutes, that coming the night LeBron did not play against Portland. In total, he played about 33 minutes.

Over the last six games, he’s played at least 21 minutes each night, been a starter five games and been prominently in the rotation. It’s a remarkably difficult transition to make.

Having said that, aside from the Cleveland game where he got deserved praise, it’s been pretty tough sledding for him during this run of games. He’s shooting just 28.6% from three, 44.7% from the field and has struggled to find some consistency.

These minutes will probably do him well in the long run but it’s been a step too big for Christie right now in his career.

Grade: C+

D’Angelo Russell

32 minutes, 16 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 6-13 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT, -4

Early on, it looked like D’Lo might be set to replicate his performance against the Pistons. But his scoring tapered off and while he did have a double-double, he also had some defensive efforts that stood out for the wrong reasons.

He’s not going to be a strong defensive player, but there’s a middle ground he can meet. And while I won’t lump all the defensive shortcomings on him, he was noticeable on that end.

Grade: B-

Austin Reaves

29 minutes, 14 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 5-9 FG, 1-4 3PT, 3-3 FT, -23

The 3-pointer has abandoned Reaves over the last few games and it’s hurt. But he’s not relying solely on it to score, which has helped mitigate the impact of missing so many threes.

Other than that, a fairly ho-hum performance from Reaves. You’d expect more, you certainly needed more but he isn’t really near the bottom of the list of players who played poorly on the night.

Grade: C+

Christian Wood

20 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 5-7 FT, -11

Wood’s ability to get to the line saved him from a truly awful stat line, but the eye still saw what it saw. His one assist was a nice high-low pass to Davis. But that was about the only highlight he had.

It was a really bad night for Wood and epitomized the really bad night the short bench had.

Grade: D-

Jalen Hood-Schifino

19 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1-6 FG, 0-3 3PT, 1-2 FT, -15

We’re going to give JHS the benefit of the doubt of this being effectively his third game because it wasn’t a great showing. His 3-point shooting was always going to be a work in progress and, ideally, he would be brought along more slowly than being thrown into the rotation like this.

For now, we’re still grading on a curve. And even then...

Grade: D+

Maxwell Lewis, D’Moi Hodge, Alex Fudge, Colin Castleton

In total, they all played 4:01 and did not make a field goal. The circumstances of garbage time are always rough but, uh they have not had a good road trip.

Friday’s inactive: Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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