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Player Grades: Lakers vs. Clippers

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 127-116 loss to the Clippers.

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For the second time in the last month, the Lakers had one heck of a fight in a game they did not have LeBron James. And for the second time in a month, that was for naught.

The Lakers put up a really valiant fight against the Clippers on Tuesday. The 13 offensive rebounds are the surest sign of how hard they played in the contest.

But the Clippers are one of the best teams in the NBA for a reason. And if you aren’t perfect against them, as Darvin Ham said you have to be postgame, then you’ll fall short. The Clippers shot 59.1% from the field and 51.9% from the 3-point line, enough to overcome being outscored 18-3 on second-chance points and allowing 22 points off turnovers.

Moral victories are meaningless when the Lakers need real ones. But they make a loss sting a little bit less.

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.

Taurean Prince

33 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 4-10 FG, 2-6 3PT, 1-1 FT, -5

A pretty meh night from Prince, who had a couple of good plays that stuck out but struggled on the night. A lot of Lakers wings struggled, which is what happens when you play Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden for 48 minutes.

Grade: C-

Rui Hachimura

30 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 5-8 FG, 1-1 3PT, -8

Speaking of Lakers wings that struggled, Rui had a rough going defensively as well on Tuesday. Kawhi, specifically, really worked him over and got a number of open shots. Perhaps you could have gone with him a bit more over Prince, but neither was playing well defensively.

Grade: C+

Anthony Davis

36 minutes, 26 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 12-20 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT, -9

At least in this game without LeBron, AD showed up big time as well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. But he was fighting all game long for rebounds and it’s really a surprise he only finished with four offensive boards.

The Lakers perhaps could have gotten him the ball more down the stretch but it really wasn’t going to matter if they never were going to get stops anyway.

Grade: A-

Austin Reaves

34 minutes, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 5-14 FG, 2-8 3PT, -8

A really oof of a game from Reaves, man. Just when it looked like he broke out of a shooting slump, he has a really bad night. And defensively, he was trying so hard and really doing nothing to stop Kawhi time and time again.

He’s had more of them than you’d like this season. The expectations were high for him this year and it’s been a lot of duds. But any whispers of whether they should trade him because of his struggles this year feel awfully premature.

Grade: F

D’Angelo Russell

40 minutes, 27 points, 5 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 block, 9-21 FG, 4-10 3PT, 5-6 FT, -7

It’s really hard to overstate how impressive this has been from D’Lo of late. He had every reason in the world to check out of this team until a trade, which felt imminent. Instead, he responded with some of the best basketball of his career.

He outright carried the Lakers at times tonight. Seemingly each time it felt like the game was getting away, he’d respond with a jumper or a drive to the rim or a pass to a cutter. He was instrumental in so much the Lakers did tonight.

And he had a block at the rim!

Is it all enough for the Lakers to reconsider trading him? That feels unlikely. But man, he’s making that decision a lot tougher of late.

Grade: A+

Jarred Vanderbilt

25 minutes, 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 4-10 FG, 0-1 3PT, 4-4 FT, -9

Vando is such a fascinating player. He grabbed six offensive rebounds. He had three steals. He blocked a shot. And he also was 4-10 from the field, missed a number of shots at the rim and turned the ball over twice.

Unlocking him is not easy, and he could truly be a dynamic player if that were to happen. Seeing him as a roller is intriguing...until he gets to the rim and doesn’t come close. Seeing him grab an offensive rebound is awesome...until he gets it stripped trying to go back up. Twice.

There’s so much talent and so much potential there. And so many question marks.

Grade: A-

Max Christie

10 minutes, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3PT

A very quiet night from Max, which I guess is better than the loud bad night he had against Portland? His minutes seemingly went to D’Lo, Vando and Cam Reddish before his injury tonight. Can’t really blame Darvin for that right now.

Grade: D

Cam Reddish

16 minutes, 9 points, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 3-5 FG, 2-4 3PT, 1-4 FT, -1

Tuesday was as springy and spry as Reddish has looked since returning. It’s clear the knee and groin injuries really were limiting him.

And that also makes his ankle injury all the more potentially devastating for him. It’s been a really rough season for injuries for him as well.

Grade: B+

Christian Wood

14 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists 2-2 FG, 2-5 FT, -5

A really strong showing from Wood, who really punished Daniel Theis for a stretch of this one. Maybe he could have played more, but with the Clippers going small, it would have been hard to have him and AD on the floor together.

Grade: A-

Darvin Ham

I promise there’s nothing nefarious when I accidentally leave him off these. It’s usually me using the box score as a guide and forgetting to include him at the end.

Again, I didn’t come away from this game thinking much about Ham or his decision-making. There could have been a few squabbles on minutes but, again, he had the team coming out and playing hard from the jump.

Grade: B

Monday’s inactives: Skylar Mays, LeBron James, Dylan Windler, Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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