There were plenty of great performances from the Lakers, with Darvin Ham putting together a new starting five and getting good production from the starters and the bench mob alike, playing only nine guys.
LeBron James was the best player by far, but more on that below.
So, let's grade the win. As always, grades are based on expectations for each player. A "B" grade represents the average performance for that player.
38 minutes, 40 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 13-20 FG, 5-5 3PT, 9-9 FT, +10
LeBron James has been great this year, but tonight, he was elite.
He went a perfect 5-5 from deep, didn't miss a free throw and scored a season-high 40 points.
LeBron got picked on the Lakers possession then turned on the jets for the chasedown BLOCK pic.twitter.com/mEI9eg7fMK— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 24, 2023
When the Thunder made a run in the fourth, it was LeBron who hit clutch basket after clutch basket and had another impressive chase-down block on Luguentz Dort.
The Lakers are already asking more from James than any Year 21 player has ever been asked to do and somehow, he continues to exceed expectations.
42 minutes, 26 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, 11-21 FG, 1-1 3PT, 3-6 FT, +3
Anthony Davis put the pressure on himself and the team, calling this game a must-win. He delivered, playing 42 minutes and did not take even a second off during the second half.
This wasn't just a big-minute game for Davis. He brought production to that time with a double-double and even added a big three in the fourth for good measure.
Davis has been sensational on defense all year, but with his offensive production ramping up as of late, the argument can be made that he's the Lakers' most valuable player and could be in MVP talks if he continues this level of play.
28 minutes, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 3-7 FG, 2-5 3PT, +9
Taurean Prince has played well as of late.
He's knocking down his shots and is playing well on defense, utilizing his size and length to block shots, discourage field goal attempts and can switch on virtually anyone.
Versus the Thunder, his only blemish was earning a tech on the bench complaining about the officiating. Other than that, this is precisely what the Lakers need from Prince and performances like this will keep him in the starting lineup regardless of who's available.
30 minutes, 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists 8-14 FG, 3-5 3PT, +1
People forget Rui Hachimura is a bucket.
He reminded them on Saturday, scoring 21 points off the bench on 57% shooting. It wasn't just the production it was when it happened. He was dominant in the opening quarter, scoring 12 points when the game was still hanging in the balance and the Lakers had yet to take control.
Thanks to his play, the Lakers were able to weather the early storm and establish control midway through the second quarter.
24 minutes, 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1-4 FG, 0-1 3-PT, +5
Jarred Vanderbilt got the start and looked good defensively. He grabbed six boards, held his own defensively with the speedy Thunder and had one of his better games since returning from injury.
Offensively, he continues to struggle and yes, he is not on the court for his offensive play, but he has to at least be a threat so teams don't start sagging off of him and clogging the paint. If he can shoot average from three, that will be sufficient, but then again, few Lakers can do that on this roster.
28 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 2-7 FG, 0-4 3PT, +13
Cam Reddish's stats fail to tell the full story.
He wasn't scoring in bunches or making highlight plays, but he was a positive when he was on the floor. He had seven assists and a few "hockey assists" where he made the pass that led to the pass that resulted in points. He was marvelous at rotating to defenders and keeping up with the Thunder's shifty guards.
If he can convert on a couple of threes, he'll become the 3-and-D player Ham envisions him being on this team.
18 minutes, 15 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 5-9 FG, 3-6 3PT, +0
D'Angelo Russell was relegated to the bench and responded to it well on the court, shooting efficiently, scoring 15 points on 5-9 shooting in 18 minutes.
“Just finding a way to impact winning and being energy whenever I get out on the floor.” D’Angelo Russell speaks on his move to the bench and how he can impact the game. pic.twitter.com/iphVypkd1P— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 24, 2023
The starting lineup and what it will ultimately be remains to be seen, but whenever Russell plays well, it benefits the Lakers. Games like tonight show why. He can be a good offensive threat, a great ball handler and if he can just be passable on defense, he is an important piece on this team.
29 minutes, 11 points, 9 assists, 4-8 FG, 2-5 3PT, 1-1 FT, -2
It was a quiet game from Austin Reaves, but it went unnoticed, with so many playing well. He didn't take many shots but went 50% from the field and was great on the ball, dropping a team-high nine assists.
Reaves has played some of his best ball through the four-game losing streak and nothing from Saturday's game is cause for concern.
7 minutes, 1 assist, +6
It looks like it's time to hang up the Jaxson-Hayes experiment. He hasn't played well as of late, and tonight, his lone assist is the only reason he didn't get the Tony Snell Award.
For seven minutes in the second, he did cardio and not much else. Christian Wood would be a better player to play, or opt for more wing minutes or go small with guards. If he doesn't improve soon, playing him at all doesn't make sense.
Darvin Ham knew a change had to be made and he made it. Now Vanderbilt is starting and the extra size helped the Lakers slow down the Thunder attack. He was still staggering Reaves and Russell's time, rarely having them share the floor, but hard to complain tonight when he made the tough decisions and it worked.
His biggest blemish was playing Hayes, but once he saw he had nothing to contribute, he took him off the court for good. Moving forward, how he optimizes Russell if he stays on the bench will be key.
Ham hasn't had his full roster much this year, but it looks like he's close to that now, so how he adjusts will be even more noticeable in the coming weeks.
Monday's DNPs: Max Christie, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis, Christian Wood
Monday's inactives: Alex Fudge, Gabe Vincent, Colin Castleton, D'Moi Hodge
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.