clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Players Grades: Lakers vs. Timberwolves

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 108-106 loss to the Timberwolves.

Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Lakers lost in the closing second with a controversial call where a LeBron James three was ruled a long two. Certain replays depicted James as behind the 3-point line, but the call was not overturned.

It wasn't the only reason the Lakers lost, but it certainly made the defeat a better pill to swallow. Ultimately, they didn't do enough to overcome the fourth-quarter deficit to win on James' birthday.

So, 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.

LeBron James

39 minutes, 26 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 10-21 FG, 1-4 3PT, 5-7 FT, -5

James almost missed this matchup with a non-COVID illness but toughed it out and showed up to play, sick, on his birthday.

He wasn't his normal self during most of the game, rarely attacking the basket and shooting just 47% from the field. He stepped up in the fourth, playing every minute scoring 10 points in the quarter, so, in the end, James did everything he could to win the game while not feeling 100%.

Grade: B

Anthony Davis

39 minutes, 33 points, 17 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 12-17 FG, 1-2 3PT, 8-10 FT, -6

Similar to James' greatness, it becomes harder and harder to come up with different ways to say Anthony Davis is good at basketball.

Saturday against the Timberwolves, he just pummeled the defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert. Davis did what he wanted, how he wanted, where he wanted. He was just two dimes shy of a triple-double.

Defensively, he was spectacular, as usual, stuffing Jaden McDaniels on what could be the block-of-the-year.

Asking more of Davis would be unfair and unrealistic. He's been a star even with James shining and is playing some of the best basketball of his career.

Grade: A

Taurean Prince

33 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3-9 FG, 3-6 3PT, +15

Watching the game, Prince's plus-minus perplexes me. Was he that effective in his 33 minutes to be a +15 on the night?

He didn't shoot particularly well, going 3-9 on the night, but I don't recall any bad shots, and he did go 3-6 from deep.

Maybe Prince is similar to a soccer goalie where if you don't notice him, it's good, but if you do notice him, it's probably for the wrong reasons.

Grade: B

Cam Reddish

22 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, +1

Cam Reddish returned from injury and didn't play particularly well. He wasn't a standout defensively and didn't produce much on the offensive side of the ball.

He is returning from a groin injury, and that context is needed when criticizing his play, so while he is underperforming, it's understandable why. Hopefully, he looks better in the coming games and he needs to be as the Lakers figure out their starting lineup.

Grade: C

Jarred Vanderbilt

27 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3-7 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT, +10

Jarred Vanderbilt is starting to look like himself.

He battled for boards, grabbed five, defended on the perimeter, and scored enough to be respected. He went 0-2 from three but finished well near the rim and hit his free throws.

Vanderbilt still isn't playing at the elite level you want him to be at defensively, but as he continues to adjust after missing so many games, there's enough good to feel comfortable that he will reach that level in a couple of weeks.

Grade: B

D'Angelo Russell

20 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1-4 FG, 0-1 3PT, -19

Not a great game for D'Angelo Russell.

He struggled offensively and was poor on defense, with his most memorable play being his inability to stop Rudy Gobert from making a basket. He did get injured in the fourth, so maybe he could've helped the team win and improve his play, but what he gave on Saturday left a lot to be desired.

Grade: C

Austin Reaves

29 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2-11 FG, 0-5 3PT, 5-6 FT, +2

Austin Reaves still led the Lakers bench in scoring with nine points, but that's more of an indictment on the non-starters than a compliment to Reaves. He shot poorly and didn't impact the game in a significant way and that's even with him playing the most minutes he has since the Dec. 18 game against the Knicks.

An off night for Reaves is one reason you can't just blame the refs for this game. Key players didn't perform.

Grade: C

Rui Hachimura

17 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 2-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, -11

Rui Hachmura, like Reaves, didn't do much against the Timberwolves. He was aggressive early but only stood out when he got so animated with a missed call that he took off his mask to yell at the referee.

In his defense, it was clearly a foul, but not a good sign if that's your biggest contribution to a game.

Grade: C

Christian Wood

13 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 2-4 FG, 2-2 3PT, 1-2 FT, +3

Christian Wood has clearly taken Jaxson Hayes' minutes and has been okay.

That's it, just okay.

At his best, he's scoring and helping the offense flow, being a spark off the bench. At his worst, he's like a high school player who doesn't get playing time. He's taking a shot if he touches the ball and the smart money is on it not going in.

Versus the Timberwolves, it was more good than bad, but both versions of Wood were experienced in different pockets of the game. It's still a better option than Hayes, but it seems like a position the Lakers might want to address during this trade season.

Grade: B

Darvin Ham

No Max Christie's minutes are perplexing, given how good he was in the last game against the Charlotte Hornets. It seems Ham is set on keeping the players in front of Christie there and will be slow to make a change, barring a player going down.

Minus that move, the rest of the decisions Ham made seemed fine. He finally played the playoff lineup that started most games last year and while it didn't shine, it's encouraging that he went to it at all.

Grade: B

Monday's DNPs: Christie, Hayes, Jalen Hood-Schifino

Monday's inactives: Alex Fudge, Colin Castleton, D'Moi Hodge

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Silver Screen & Roll Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Los Angeles Lakers news from Silver Screen & Roll