Lakers player grades: L.A., without LeBron James, falls to Warriors

The first time this season the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors faced off, it was an instant classic that went into double overtime. But Thursday’s contest between two teams had a much different flavor.

With LeBron James sitting out after getting treatment for an ankle ailment he has been dealing with for months, the Lakers were at a disadvantage against a surging Golden State team. It would take an all-hands-on-deck effort from them to have a chance of winning at Chase Center in San Francisco.

The opening minutes of the first quarter were fairly competitive, even though Stephen Curry was red-hot to begin the contest and the Lakers had some trouble finding the basket. They scored the first seven points of the second quarter, but Golden State responded with a late second-quarter run to take a 67-56 lead at halftime. It often went to a zone defense or box-and-one, and it stymied the Lakers, who weren’t able to get into the paint as easily as when they were going up against a man-to-man defense.

With L.A. also unable to hit from 3-point range, it trailed 98-82 after three quarters and ended up losing 128-110. The team had trouble defending the Warriors’ familiar pick-and-roll and dribble handoff actions, especially since it was in drop coverage for much of the night.

The Purple and Gold had won three in a row and 11 of their previous 16 games, but this loss has slowed down their momentum a bit. They have dropped to a 30-27 record and are just half a game ahead of the Warriors in ninth place in the Western Conference.

They will return home to Arena to play Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Anthony Davis: A

Davis was big in the first quarter with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, but he picked up his second foul near the end of the period. He kept up his productivity afterward, even though the Lakers didn’t consistently go to him and sometimes settled for ill-advised contested 3-pointers.

He scored 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting, and he also did a number in other categories with 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. But he had just one assist, which is an area in which he has been excelling lately.

Taurean Prince: B

Prince started his second straight game in place of James. He made half of his 10 shots, but he was just 2-of-7 from downtown. Like his teammates, he took at least one bad or questionable contested 3-pointer, and overall, the Lakers were a chilly 10-of-35 from that distance, while Golden State was 16-of-41.

They were therefore outscored by 18 on 3-pointers, which accounted for the final margin of victory. Whenever they have lost this season, that has often been the biggest disparity between them and their opponents.

Rui Hachimura: D

After three strong games in a row, Hachimura scored just eight points on 3-of-8 overall shooting and 1-of-4 from downtown in 31 minutes on Thursday. Los Angeles didn’t often get him the ball in the mid-range area, and he thus wasn’t able to consistently get good looks or work off the dribble.

D'Angelo Russell: B-minus

Russell was aggressive early, but his shot wasn’t falling through the hoop that often. Nine of his 15 field goal attempts were from 3-point land, but he made just three of those nine attempts, and overall, he was 6-of-15.

He did help out with nine assists, which led everyone in the game, while also getting five rebounds and two steals.

Austin Reaves: B-plus

Reaves picked and chose when to be aggressive, but it worked in the first half, as he scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He appeared to tweak his ankle in the third quarter and immediately came out of the game, but he returned in the fourth quarter, albeit only briefly before head coach Darvin Ham decided to take out his starters.

He finished with a solid 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 27 minutes, to go along with four assists.

However, neither Reaves nor Russell provided much resistance defensively. Curry went off for 32 points and six treys while dishing off eight assists. Backcourt defense has been a concern for L.A. all season, and it is something that will need to be addressed.

Jaxson Hayes: B-plus

Hayes worked the boards pretty well to the tune of seven rebounds, four of them coming on the offensive glass. His ability also led to seven points from him, although he made just one of his four free throw attempts.

The Lakers needed more rim protection from Hayes though. He blocked one shot in 18 minutes, but they gave up 58 points in the paint, and their interior defense looked especially suspect when Davis was resting.


Spencer Dinwiddie: C

Dinwiddie was passive in the first half, and although he picked up his aggression a bit afterward, he shot just 2-of-6. He did have three assists without committing a turnover and one blocked shot, however, in 18 minutes.

Max Christie: B

Christie had a rough shooting night as he went 3-of-8 from the field. He had some decent looks, especially from 3-point range, but he simply wasn’t able to knock them down with any consistency.

However, he did put up six assists without any turnovers while adding one steal and one block in 29 minutes. This was Christie’s first game back after missing the Lakers’ last three, and with James’ status in question, he may continue to play extended minutes.

Skylar Mays: B

In garbage time, Mays played six minutes, and he made both of his shot attempts to score four points. One of those baskets came on a nice herky-jerky drive to the basket.

Jalen Hood-Schifino: D

When Hood-Schifino has been able to get onto the floor for L.A. this season, he has had lots of trouble finding the basket. He went 1-of-3 in six minutes, and his only other positive contribution was one rebound.

Dylan Windler: Incomplete

In six minutes, Windler had one rebound and one assist while going scoreless.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire