Lakers player grades: L.A. sends Warriors home, advances to Western Conference Finals

Perhaps it is a new day for the Los Angeles Lakers after all.

After starting the regular season 2-10, enduring multiple key injuries and undoing a remodeling project that involved several midseason trades, they will be heading to the Western Conference Finals. They punched their ticket there by obliterating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the second round, 122-101.

There was some real anxiety about whether L.A. had what it took to take care of business in this contest. At the same time, there were also questions as to which Warriors team would show up. Would it be the vintage iteration, or the version seen so often on the road this season that seemed to be running on fumes?

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Early on, it was clear that the latter was the case. The Lakers jumped out to a 27-10 lead, and although Stephen Curry and reserve Donte DiVincenzo tried to get Golden State back into the game, getting it to within four early in the second quarter, it just wasn’t enough.

Los Angeles got its lead deep into the double digits in the third quarter, and from that point on, it was garbage time.

While the Lakers will now play the Denver Nuggets for a spot in the NBA Finals, Golden State heads into an uncertain offseason that could see the end of their dynasty. This is the first time it has lost a Western Conference playoff series since Steve Kerr took over as head coach nine years ago.

Anthony Davis: B-plus


Davis came out with a vengeance after getting hit in the head late in Game 5. He was a vacuum cleaner on the boards, sucking up 10 rebounds in the first quarter while adding nine points in that time frame.

He didn’t score in the second quarter and was quiet on the offensive end afterward, but it didn’t seem to matter. He finished with 20 rebounds, 17 points, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals. It was reminiscent of Game 6 in the previous round versus the Memphis Grizzlies when he scored only 16 points but was a terror defensively and on the boards.

One thing Davis did do well offensively was get to the free throw line. He attempted 10 foul shots and made seven of them on Friday. As was the case in Game 1 and Game 3, the Lakers enjoyed a huge advantage at the charity stripe with 42 attempts to just 14 for the Warriors, as they did a good job of attacking the paint for much of the game.

LeBron James: A


James looked to post up Andrew Wiggins, who was dealing with a rib cartilage injury, early and often. As the game wore on, he seemed to get better. Back-to-back fast-break layups by James boosted L.A.’s lead to 17 with 8:11 left in the third quarter, and overall, the four-time MVP imposed his will in the third period with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

He finished the game with 30 points while hitting 10-of-14 shots from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range plus nine rebounds, nine assists, two steals and one block. He attacked downhill off the dribble as much as he has since the playoffs started, and he also earned 11 free throw attempts.

This is the first time since 2018 that James has had a 30-point playoff game outside the bubble and the first time he has had such a performance before the home crowd at Arena.

Dennis Schroder: C


Schroder got the start in Game 6 over Jarred Vanderbilt, and at times, he did a good job defensively on Curry. However, he was given a technical foul in the first quarter for taunting, and then he received a second one in the third period when Draymond Green stuck the ball in his face.

Both technical fouls seemed questionable to Lakers fans, but Schroder needs to keep his cool better if the team is to go all the way this year.

He shot just 1-of-6 from the field but had five assists and one blocked shot in 25 minutes.

D'Angelo Russell: B

D’Angelo Russell was aggressive early, and he drew a second foul on the Warriors’ Gary Payton II with 8:26 left in the first quarter. But he cooled off afterward and finished the first half just 3-of-9 overall and 0-of-3 from 3-point range.


After halftime, Russell started to get things going. He went 2-of-3 in the third quarter, with all three shot attempts coming from downtown, and he continued to be effective offensively in the fourth period to help knock Golden State out of the playoffs.

He finished with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, although he was a chilly 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. His 3-point shooting has been up and down throughout the postseason, and he will need to find more consistency in that department.

Austin Reaves: A

Reaves was one of the Lakers’ most aggressive players all night. He shot a stellar 7-of-12 overall and 4-of-5 from 3-point range, which included a half-court heave just before halftime. He finished the game with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds.


The undrafted guard struggled late in the previous round versus the Memphis Grizzlies and in the first three games of this series, but it’s pretty safe to say he has broken out of that slump.

Rui Hachimura: B

Hachimura was quiet through three quarters, but he woke up afterward. He had a blocked shot early in the fourth quarter, plus a fast-break dunk and a layup off a drive to the hoop, and he did a good job of getting to the free throw line, going 5-of-6 from there. He finished with nine points, three rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes.

Other than in Game 2, the Japan native gave the Lakers very little in this series, and he will need to be better if they are to get past the Nuggets.


Lonnie Walker IV: A

Once again, as he was in Game 4, Walker was a shot in the arm for the Lakers. He had a brief first-half stint, and he came back in after Schroder got ejected and quickly scored a bucket, then followed it up with a 3-pointer to get the Lakers’ lead up to 18 points.

In all, the reserve guard shot 4-of-8 overall and 3-of-5 from 3-point land, giving him 13 points in 14 minutes. His two blemishes were two missed free throws in four attempts and the fact that he committed five fouls.

Jarred Vanderbilt, Troy Brown Jr., Tristan Thompson, Malik Beasley, Shaquille Harrison, Max Christie: Incomplete


Coming off the bench for the first time since mid-February, Vanderbilt got a dunk on a breakaway off a steal soon after entering the game to start the second quarter. However, he played only four minutes and has seen his playing time cut drastically in the last few games.

Brown, Thompson, Beasley, Harrison and Christie entered the game toward the end during garbage time. Beasley hit a 3-pointer and Brown scored a basket himself while grabbing three rebounds, while Thompson claimed two boards and Harrison had one assist.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire