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Players Grades: Lakers vs. Pelicans

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 133-89 In-Season Tournament win over Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Lakers ran over the Pelicans in the In-Season Tournament semifinals 133-89 thanks to the team finding their three-point shot, converting 48% from deep and LeBron James giving us another masterful performance.

Before we look ahead at the matchup between the Pacers and Lakers for the NBA Cup on Saturday, 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.

LeBron James

23 minutes, 30 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 9-12 FG, 4-4 3PT, 8-8 FT, +36

This game was over before the fourth quarter even started because of James. He was a flamethrower from three, making three consecutive shots from downtown, including a logo Bron heat check.

He ended the night perfect from three, perfect from the free-throw line and rested the entire fourth quarter since he helped the Lakers get to a 40-point lead. When James gets going, he reaches levels only the legends of the game can reach. This was a masterclass from the king and his best game of the season.

Grade: A+

Anthony Davis

31 minutes, 16 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 5-10 FG, 6-8 FT, +35

I would've liked seeing Davis' shooting attempts in the teens, but other than that, he dominated against his previous team.

He shot 50% from the field, had 15 rebounds, a couple of blocks, and even more shot attempts that didn't even go up due to his presence in the paint. With James on a heater, everyone backed off a bit and allowed him to do his things offensively, but even so, Davis was the second-best player on the floor Thursday.

Grade: A

Cam Reddish

23 minutes, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3-6 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2-2 FT, +31

This wasn't Reddish's defensive masterclass, but that wasn't needed tonight. Reddish was solid in his assignments and very good on offense. He picked his spots and made his shots, playing within the system without taking away from all the good that was happening. He is a star in his role, as cliche as that saying is.

Grade: B

Taurean Prince

23 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 5-9 FG, 5-8 3PT, +23

Let the apology be as loud as the disrespect. Prince has been shooting better from downtown for two weeks, but no game was better than tonight. All five of his field goals converted were from three and his 15 points are his most as a Laker. Defensively, he was solid against the Pelicans wings. New Orleans never really got going and while it's a combination of good defense and poor shooting, you have to credit Prince for helping Los Angeles keep the Pelicans under 90 points on the night.

Grade: A

D'Angelo Russell

22 minutes, 14 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds, 6-10 FG, 2-5 3PT, +23

D'Angelo Russell did most of his damage in the first half but was part of the Lakers starting the game hot and with the appropriate energy in the first quarter, something that's been an issue all season long.

His biggest blemish was an awkward pass to Davis when he had an open lane to the basket on a fastbreak. Still, other than that, Russell was relatively good and with the stars overwhelming the opposing team, not much else was needed or missing from him tonight.

Grade: B

Rui Hachimura

21 minutes, 12 points, 2 assists, 5-9 FG, 1-3 3PT, +9

Rui was effective and looked better in his second game back since having surgery on his nose. He was 5-9 from the field and was one of the wings playing in the second quarter when the Lakers started pulling away from the Pelicans.

With his size, mid-range shooting and occasionally knocking down a three, Hachimura gives the Lakers wing-depth that was dearly missing during his departure. We've seen how good Hachimura can be, especially last season in the playoffs, and while this performance isn't at that level, it's heading in the right direction.

Grade: B

Austin Reaves

23 minutes, 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 5-9 FG, 3-6 3PT, 4-4 FT, +21

Sixth man Austin Reaves is here!

He led the team in scoring off the bench with 17 points and sensationally distributed the ball with seven dimes. Reaves is excellent at understanding the moment by either being aggressive and taking the shots or deferring to the hot hand. With James cooking, he stayed out of the way and did more of the small things to keep the offense humming.

Grade: B+

Max Christie

17 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3PT, +6

Max Christie is here to stay.

He's being subbed in early and consistently getting playing time after being a bit more touch-and-go during the early parts of the year.

He was just average today, he didn't have any stellar defensive stops, and most of his minutes came from the fourth quarter when the Lakers were in garage time for the entire period.

Grade: B-

Jarred Vanderbilt

14 minutes, 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1-2 FG, +9

A quiet Vando game, but he looked comfortable out there and was still cleaning up the glass well with five rebounds. It seems head coach Darvin Ham doesn't want to play him beyond 15 minutes, as his shifts were very similar to his first game on Tuesday.

As he gets his legs under him, I expect Vanderbilt to be back in the starting lineup, getting the hardest defensive assignments and excelling in shutting down those players. For now, it's about getting in shape and being a positive during his time on the floor.

Grade: B

Jaxson Hayes

17 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2-3 FG, +9

Jaxson Hayes is a fun player to watch.

He's in a perfect role on this team. Not expected to play beyond his capabilities all he has to do is contest shots on defense and run the floor hard offensively. He didn't get any blocks, but he had a few nice finishes and helped speed up the Lakers' offense once he stepped on the floor.

He had a hilarious moment in the closing minute where he refused to touch the ball because the Lakers were running out of the clock, and he didn't want the turnover on his stat line. Hayes laughed after the possession. On a night like tonight, you give the guy a pass for being selfish for a second.

Grade: B

Christian Wood, Maxwell Lewis, Jalen Hood-Schifino

The fourth quarter squad. Ham has thrown cold water on the idea of garbage time being a thing, but I don't think there's much you can learn when a team is up by 40-plus with 12 minutes to go and all the starters off the floor. Props to this unit for not allowing even a fake comeback to occur, keeping the deficit large, and winning the quarter 23-18.

Darvin Ham

Ham pushed all the right buttons tonight. He stayed with the same starting five, in the second, when New Orleans got within three, he brought James back in to regain control and he didn’t get tempted to keep his core guys out longer than necessary, giving them some much-needed rest in the fourth.

The bench minutes were similar to what they’ve been the past week or so, but no player was in bad form, so the minutes felt right and it’s hard to think of any other ways Ham could’ve improved the outcome when his team won by 44 points.

Grade: A

Thursday's DNPs: None

Thursday's inactives: D'Moi Hodge, Alex Fudge, Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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