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Player Grades: Lakers vs. Hornets

Grading every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 124-118 win over the Hornets.

Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images

While everything got a bit too close for comfort in the final minutes, the Lakers outlasted a furious Hornets rally to finish their Grammy road trip with a 4-2 record thanks to a 124-118 in Charlotte.

For the better part of three quarters, it was as comfortable a performance as the Lakers have had in some time. Brandon Miller caught fire for the hosts in the fourth quarter and made it uncomfortable down the stretch but the end result is all the same as the Lakers are now two games over .500.

The next time the purple and gold take the court, the trade deadline will have passed. It was a nice statement win and road trip to try to make their point that they are capable of winning as is, but it also may have come too late.

Nonetheless, 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.

Rui Hachimura

29 minutes, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 4-6 FG, 1-3 3PT, +6

I think the lineup is starting to get more comfortable. At the very least, Rui looked more comfortable tonight. It didn’t necessarily show up in the box score, but he battled well on the boards both early in the game and late.

His ability to punish mismatches is also part of what makes this lineup so dangerous. You can’t hide any defender against this Lakers group. If they can hold up defensively, and they have the last two games, then it could be a key for them in the coming months.

Grade: B

LeBron James

40 minutes, 26 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block. 12-22 FG, 0-5 3PT, 2-3 FT, +2

Even if he was ice cold from the 3-point line and settled there a bit too much — as did the whole team — in the second half and fourth quarter, he was utterly dominant anytime he put his head down and drove to the rim.

For all the talk of his tweet and this team's drama, he seems to be having a lot of fun lately. Maybe that matters, maybe it doesn’t. But it doesn’t seem like he’s checked out, which is very notable given how close we are to the trade deadline.

This would have been an easy game to float and send a message and he didn’t. I’m not commending him for doing his job, just making an observation.

Grade: A-

Anthony Davis

37 minutes, 26 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 blocks 12-16 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT, +16

It’s really hard to put into context just how far AD has come as a passer in recent years. In the past, doubling him was a surefire strategy that impacted him, especially in his first years in LA.

Now? Double him and he’s going to make you pay. He knows his reads, the Lakers are making the right cuts when he’s doubled and teams are paying for doing so. To go from one triple-double in his career to two in the last month is incredible.

And his late block on Miles Bridges is yet another mark in his Defensive Player of the Year candidacy.

Grade: A+

Austin Reaves

36 minutes, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3-8 FG, 0-5 3PT, 3-3 FT, +15

Reaves didn’t have a great scoring night but I chalk most of that up to him missing open 3-pointers but also not looking for his shot as much. His 11 assists are indicative of that latter point.

Similar to AD, his playmaking has really improved after overcoming the struggles early in the season as the sole playmaker of lineups. Now, he’s able to play in lineups like this and offer legitimate playmaking chops as well.

Grade: B

D’Angelo Russell

40 minutes, 28 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 10-21 FG, 5-12 3PT, 3-3 FT, -2

Man, some of the shots D’Lo was taking and making on Monday were wild. He was in a complete groove, as he has been for the last month. An aggressive D’Lo takes this team to a different level on nights when he, LeBron and AD have it going.

That being said, I thought he also was a big culprit in settling too much in the fourth quarter. He turned a really efficient shooting night into one that didn’t look great overall on paper. But that first half was enough to certainly consider it a really good night.

Grade: A-

Taurean Prince

19 minutes, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4-7 FG, 1-4 3PT, 0-2 FT, +2

The move to the bench has changed the mindset of Prince offensively. He’s attacking more and spending less time purely as a spot-up shooter. It makes him a more dynamic offensive threat and, really, a better player.

And the more active he is, the more it seems to help his defense. In general, playing 19 minutes means he doesn’t have to pace himself defensively quite as much either.

Grade: B

Christian Wood

10 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, 4-4 FT, +3

I was honestly surprised to see how few minutes Wood played tonight. He was quite impactful in his few minutes. Interestingly, the re-emergence of Jaxson Hayes means that Wood’s minutes came alongside AD at times tonight.

I still contend that’s the best way to use Wood, but it’s only possible if the Lakers have a big man that can play center minutes outside of Wood.

Grade: A-

Max Christie

18 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 2-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT, -2

Tonight was yet another strong showing from Christie, who had a number of strong defensive plays and some nice drives to the rim as well. He just needs minutes tonight. No matter when Cam Reddish or Jarred Vanderbilt or Gabe Vincent come back, Christie is a rotation player. Full stop.

Grade: B+

Jaxson Hayes

11 minutes, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 0-1 FG, -10

If this is the point where Hayes’ out-of-body experience ends, it’s good timing with the trade deadline here. Regardless, even tonight’s bad performance isn’t as bad as some of his performances in the last month.

Grade: C-

Darvin Ham

The lineup change has really paid off in recent games, unlocking both the starting lineup and Prince. Ham’s timeouts were used wisely. There isn’t really anything that stood out poorly on this one.

Grade: B+

Monday’s DNPs: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis, Skylar Mays

Monday’s inactives: Jarred Vanderbilt, Dylan Windler, Colin Castleton, Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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