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Players Grades: Lakers vs. Raptors

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 132-131 win over the Raptors.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

For the first time since winning the semi-final and championship game of the In-Season Tournament in mid-December, the Lakers won back-to-back games with their victory over the Raptors on Tuesday. A depressing but true fact!

A glance at the Raptors record paints the picture of team struggling this season, well under .500 and set for the draft lottery. The recent trade of OG Anunoby, though, was one that served to reignite, not deflate, the team.

With Immanuel Quickly and RJ Barrett hitting the ground running, Toronto had won three of four, all on the road, including a drubbing of the Warriors prior to Tuesday’s game. In short, it was the perfect trap game for the Lakers to squander the momentum built on Sunday and revert back to their inconsistency.

Not so fast my friend!

Even if it took a herculean Anthony Davis performance, the Lakers moved back to .500 and won a game they absolutely would not have won earlier this season. Is it turning the corner? That’s something we won’t really know for the weeks to come, but it’s a good win all the same.

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.

Cam Reddish

23 minutes, 13 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block, 4-7 FG, 4-6 3PT, 1-2 FT, -7

First off, I’m hoping for the best for Reddish after that nasty elbow to the face he took. He left the game and head coach Darvin Ham didn’t have an update on him postgame. That was a brutal blow and for someone who’s been plagued by injuries this year, hopefully it isn’t a serious one.

This was about best-case scenario for Reddish at this point. I’m probably looking through some tinted glasses because I was thoroughly surprised how well the stats say he played in this one. There was an ugly turnover and an ugly airball on a corner 3-pointer, but those were exceptions it seems.

I think it’s certainly interesting that Max Christie stepped in and the Lakers did not look any the worse for wear down the stretch, though.

Grade: A-

LeBron James

35 minutes, 22 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 8-17 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-6 FT, 0

The energy level from LeBron felt weird tonight. He wasn’t aggressive in the first half and tried to turn it on in the second half, but kept struggling driving to the rim. It was a pretty bad game from a scoring perspective.

But he also was front and center getting the ball to AD on the night, especially down the stretch, as indicated by his 12 assists. It doesn’t make up for all of it but it was noteworthy.

Grade: B-

Anthony Davis

40 minutes, 41 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 13-17 FG, 2-2 3PT, 13-14 FT, 0

I think we’re past the point of asking if this is Anthony Davis’ best stretch as a Laker and onto asking if this is the best stretch of his career? Truly a remarkable game from AD on Tuesday.

Everything he did was nearly perfect, from his free throws down the stretch to his field goal shooting to his defense to close the game. He took the pressure of making the clutch free throws even with the memories of last year’s missteps in the same situation last season on multiple occasions in the mind of Lakers fans.

This is his ninth 30-point game in the last month and his third 40-point game. There’s been very few players as dominant as AD this season in the whole league.

Grade: A+

Taurean Prince

34 minutes, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 4-8 FG, 2-6 3PT, 1-2 FT, -7

If you want to play a fun game, monitor Prince’s 3-point shooting for the season overall. Every time he gets near 40%, the mark he vowed to shoot this season, he struggles enough to bring that percentage back down.

Coming into this game, he was shooting 39.5%. And then he goes 2-6 from the arc. Don’t be surprised if he has another mediocre showing next game, too before bouncing back. It’s happened multiple times this year already.

Grade: C+

Austin Reaves

32 minutes, 11 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 3-10 FG, 1-6 3PT, 4-4 FT, -2

Man, Reaves is in some kind of wicked slump shooting from range. After Tuesday’s showing, he’s now shooting 4-28 from the 3-point line, a shocking 14.3%.

Fortunately, the one he hit in this game was a pretty timely one. And to be fair, he’s shooting 25-36 on 2-pointers in that span, which is a number I had to double-check my math on multiple times.

I guess the hope is that when he really bounces back from range, it’ll be a BIG bounce back.

Grade: C-

D’Angelo Russell

17 minutes, 11 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, 4-8 FG, 2-6 3PT, 1-2 FT, +7

I’m not sure I can recall a game where D’Lo was as feisty as he was on Tuesday ever in his career. I’m not sure what caused it, but he was really getting into it with Dennis Schröder and RJ Barrett. He even took a heat check 3-pointer at one point after being called for a foul on Dennis.

Overall, I don’t think he played poorly and had a second impactful game off the bench. But for the second straight game, he declined to talk to reporters postgame. I’m not reading anything into it even if it is abnormal.

Grade: B

Jarred Vanderbilt

18 minutes, 3 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1-2 FG, 1-2 FT, +6

I think the Lakers have found something interesting with their bench unit and the front court of Christian Wood and Vando. It’s pretty clear that Vando’s impact isn’t really going to be caught in the box score but I think you’d probably want a little bit more.

But if your backup frontcourt is combining for 17 points, 10 rebounds and can hold things down, it’s hard to be too hard on them.

Grade: B

Christian Wood

24 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 5-10 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT, +3

There was a moment in this game in the second half where it seemed like Wood was letting things tip and he might ruin a good outing with some silly mistakes, but he corrected course and capped off a really nice night.

He now had double digits off the bench in three of the last four games and his shooting 4-10 from the 3-point line in that span. He’s really found a groove of late.

Grade: B+

Max Christie

18 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2-2 FG, 1-1 3PT, 1-2 FT, +5

Before diving too deep into Christie specifically, all four Lakers off the bench had a positive plus-minus, which is massive.

As mentioned above, Christie already had a good game before stepping in to close after Reddish went down. His offensive rebound was really big and he more than held his own. A very encouraging performance.

Grade: B+

Darvin Ham

I think Darvin has really treated the last three games with a more focused approach, tightening up the rotations. The same nine players are playing, guys are entering and exiting the game at regular intervals and I think that’s why you’re seeing the bench find success.

The easy retort is asking why he didn’t do this earlier, but Vando, D’Lo and Reddish all have missed time, Wood was out of the rotation because of a shooting slump and the starting lineup wasn’t solidified.

LeBron noted it postgame that guys are building a rhythm together. It’s tough that this is coming without Rui Hachimura, but I think you could insert him, take some minutes from LeBron and/or AD on top of Prince and not shake things up too much.

For Ham, going to Christie late was not the obvious call with D’Lo and Vando on the bench but it was the right call and he was rewarded.

Grade: B+

Tuesday’s DNPs: Jaxson Hayes, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis, Skylar Mays, Dylan Windler

Tuesday’s inactives: Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura, Colin Castleton

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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