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Player Grades: Lakers vs. Pelicans

Grading every Lakers player’s performance from the team’s 139-122 win over the Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a very frustrating loss to the Nuggets on Thursday, the Lakers responded with a very impressive win over a very good Pelicans team thanks to a historic offensive performance.

The purple and gold exploded for 87 points and, despite cooling off in the second half and letting New Orleans back in the game, they finished off strong in the fourth to win relatively comfortably.

And it was a balanced team effort in doing so as all five starters scored 20 points.

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.

Rui Hachimura

37 minutes, 21 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 9-13 FG, 2-5 3PT, 1-2 FT, +21

After what I thought was his worst game as a Laker, I thought Friday’s contest was one of the best of his Lakers career. Offensively, he took full advantage of Zion Williamson’s...lackadaisical approach and scored time and time again off cuts to the rim to finish with 21 points.

Defensively, I thought he more than held his own against Zion, and I know I’m saying that on a night when Zion had 30 points. But he made it more difficult for him than anyone else on the Lakers did and played particularly well on that end in the fourth quarter.

Grade: A+

LeBron James

38 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 14 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 6-13 FG, 2-2 3PT, 7-8 FT, +15

It was nice to see LeBron not have to shift out of second gear and still win comfortably. He led the team with 14 of their 32 assists, punished mismatches when he had them and fed open teammates as willingly as ever.

Grade: A-

Anthony Davis

29 minutes, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 7-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 6-7 FT, +0

I, like presumably many other Lakers fans, was quite worried about the Lakers’ fortunes when AD went to the bench barely halfway through the first quarter with three fouls. That means perhaps the most encouraging part about this win is they did it without AD needing to be superman.

Instead, he was merely very good on both ends of the floor. And, most importantly, he beat the Pelicans as a Laker yet again.

Grade: B+

Austin Reaves

31 minutes, 27 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 10-15 FG, 3-4 3PT, 4-5 FT, +3

A nice individual bounce back game for Reaves as he found his shooting touch again. When your starting backcourt in a LeBron-AD team can combine for 57 points and nine 3-pointers, then you really have something going.

Grade: A

D’Angelo Russell

40 minutes, 30 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 9-19 FG, 6-13 3PT, 6-6 FT, +13

Man, how much fun has D’Lo been for the last six weeks?

I think back to when the Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook and how my initial thought was, win or lose, it would at least be fun to have Russ on the team. Needless to say, it was far from fun.

With D’Lo, though, this has been fun. The Lakers haven’t always won when he’s been here and there have been some annoying stretches of games, but nights like this are fun.

Grade: A+

Skylar Mays

16 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1-5 FG, 0-3 3PT, +0

After some strong minutes in the fourth quarter on Thursday, Mays more than earned the right to more minutes on Friday. And after the first quarter, I thought the Lakers had found the greatest PG in the NBA.

He cooled off considerably in the second half but if this is what your two-way player can do, then the Lakers are in a great spot.

Grade: B+

Taurean Prince

21 minutes, 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 0-2 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-4 FG, +10

It was a rare off night for Prince since his move to the bench. Defensively, Brandon Ingram cooked him in the first half. He was better in the second half but it wasn’t quite as impactful as he has been.

Grade: C-

Jaxson Hayes

17 minutes, 6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 3-4 FG, +17

Huge minutes from Hayes tonight when AD left in foul trouble. I’m still not sure if this is little more than a hot stretch from Hayes, but so long as he’s a legitimate option like this, it certainly makes me feel a lot better about the Lakers long-term and heading into the playoffs.

Grade: A-

Christian Wood, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Dylan Windler

Wood played a little bit more than the late garbage time, but not by much. None of the three had significant enough minutes to warrant grades.

Darvin Ham

One thing Ham has done really well is find more and more minutes for Hayes given his strong stretch of play. On Friday, that came pretty much at the complete elimination of Wood’s minutes, though it was also made easier with AD’s foul trouble.

The offense is also really humming along and he gets credit for that as well. Overall, a really strong night from Ham.

Grade: A

Friday’s DNPs - Maxwell Lewis

Friday’s inactives - Colin Castleton, Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish, Gabe Vincent, Max Christie

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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