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Player Grades: Lakers vs. Knicks

Assessing every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 113-105 win over the Knicks.

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers beat a New York Knicks team that had won nine games in a row and did it with a dominant defensive performance in the fourth.

The Lakers are now 26-25 on the year and add another impressive win to their 2023/24 campaign.

Yes, this team has had its fair share of disappointing losses. However, it has to say something that when they give maximum effort against the league’s best teams, they have come out victorious.

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.

Anthony Davis

36 minutes, 12 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 4-12 FG, 0-1 3PT, 4-4 FT, +6

Offensively, you may not have been impressed with Davis’ game. Defensively, he was so elite the Lakers likely wouldn’t have won without his performance. He had impressive back-to-back rejections in the third quarter and throughout the game, he grabbed board after board, ending the night with 18.

In the closing minutes, you saw players like Jalen Brunson avoiding a shot attempt near the rim in fear of an AD rejection. This, along with the doubling of Brunson, is why the Knicks failed to score for over six minutes in the fourth.

Davis could’ve been a bit better, but not by much; he was sensational.

Grade: A

LeBron James

40 minutes, 24 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 10-19 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT, +11

James missed the Lakers matchup versus the Celtics but came out ready and focused against the Knicks. He shot efficiently from the field, made the occasional 3-point shot to keep the defense honest and played a team-high 40 minutes.

It was just another top performance from a player whose greatness can sometimes become boring. Winning in New York is always exciting, though. You could tell the Lakers wanted this win and James established that focus and energy from the jump.

Grade: A

Austin Reaves

39 minutes, 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, 6-13 FG, 3-6 3PT, 7-8 FT, +8

How did Reaves do in his first game at Madison Square Garden? Pretty, pretty good. He went on a heater in the fourth, scoring 14 points on 5-6 shooting, along with going a perfect 4-4 from the line.

He also led the team with seven assists and it seemed every 3-pointer he made was a dagger. His previous performance versus the Celtics was sensational; this one was just as good.

Grade: A+

Taurean Prince

33 minutes, 16 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 6-10 FG, 3-6 3PT, 1-1 FT, +7

Prince didn’t start this game coming off the bench for the first time this year. The role fit him like a glove. He still played 30-plus minutes but gave a better defensive effort versus Brunson and led the team in points off the bench with 16.

We’ll see if this is now his permanent position, but it worked well tonight, giving us one of Prince’s best games of the year.

Grade: A

D’Angelo Russell

27 minutes, 16 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 block, 5-14 FG, 2-7 3PT, 4-4 FT, -6

This was a mediocre game from Russell. He wasn’t particularly negative, but I can’t describe anything he did well. It was just a peculiar game where he didn’t score much, distribute well, or crash the boards aggressively.

Playing the Hornets next should allow him to shine.

Grade: B-

Rui Hachimura

19 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3-5 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-2 FT, +3

With Prince being benched, Hachimura got the start. He was underwhelming, struggling to score, defending poorly and as a result, he only played 19 minutes.

It feels like once you have a good Hachimura game, it’s followed up by a poor one. Hopefully, he can find a groove and shine as a starter if head coach Darvin Ham keeps him in that role moving forward.

Grade: C

Jaxson Hayes

13 minutes, 10 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3-3 FG, 4-5 FT, +1

Is Hayes a good player now? He has been in the past two games. Once again, he had double-digit points and was respectable as a defender. I'm not sure how sustainable this is, but the Lakers will take this level of play from Hayes as long as he can provide it.

Grade: A

Max Christie

26 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 2-2 FG, 2-2 3PT, 0-1 FT, +12

More Christie minutes, please. He hit both 3-pointers he took, had a pair of blocks and was a net positive during his time on the floor.

It’s hard giving a sophomore a significant role on a contending team. The more I see of Christie, the more I feel comfortable doing so. It’s one of the reasons the Lakers would prefer not to trade him.

Grade: B+

Christian Wood

Wood only had two short shifts in the first and second quarter, playing just seven minutes. Not enough for me to feel comfortable giving him a score. He’ll likely get more run when Hayes starts to regress to his mean or when Ham feels he’s a better matchup versus an opponent.

Darvin Ham

Not many complaints on Ham’s coaching Saturday.

He started Hachimura over Prince but stayed with Prince late in the fourth, which was the right move. His rotations were good, playing Hayes over Wood and giving Christie a bigger role, which he shined in it.

Hard to think of how Ham could’ve done better against the Knicks. He did a good job and helped the team earn their second win in a row.

Grade: A

Saturday’s DNPs: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis

Saturday’s inactives: Skylar Mays, Dylan Windler, Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Jarred Vanderbilt

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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