“The Surprising Benefits Of All-Star performance….

The Surprising Benefits Of All-Star performance….The Lakers were short their ace LeBron James against the Utah Jazz, but they took care of business and secured the win thanks to a career night from Rui Hachimura and an All-Star performance by Anthony Davis.

The Jazz stayed in the game, but the Lakers maintained control for most of the matchup and came out with a much-needed win. The Lakers will go into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak.

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

34 minutes, 36 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 13-19 FG, 6-8 3PT, 4-5 FT, +25

This was a career night for Hachimura and my goodness, did the Lakers need it. Hachimura was supreme for the Lakers, scoring 36 points and converting on six 3-pointers.

It wasn’t just the numbers, it was the aggression that kept the Lakers in the game. Particularly in the first half when his 20 points helped the Lakers enter the break with a one-point lead.

Hachimura, along with Davis, did something in the regular season no Lakers duo has done since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, which was scoring 35 plus points each in a game.

With all of that context, there is nothing you can do but give Hachimura the highest grade possible.

Grade: A+

Anthony Davis

38 minutes, 37 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist, 13-25 FG, 1-3 3PT, 10-13 FT, +24

Davis led the team in points, rebounds, free throws, blocks and minutes played. He did everything but valet cars outside to help the Lakers get to where they wanted to go on Wednesday.

If I had to use one word to describe his performance, it would be dominant. In the third quarter, when the Jazz took a brief lead, he became a ferocious hammer pounding away in the paint, scoring ten consecutive points to put the Lakers back in control.

Without that offensive flurry and his defensive quarterbacking throughout the game, the Lakers don’t leave Utah with a win. Davis is having arguably his best regular season as a Laker and tonight was a prime example of why he is so elite.

Grade: A+

Taurean Prince

33 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 4-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2-2 FT, +11

With James out, Prince was back in the starting lineup. It went as you would have expected. The Lakers didn’t get an awful game from Prince, but it was underwhelming. The defense didn’t stand out and his offense was just okay. He was smart with his shot selection and didn’t interrupt the team’s flow.

Prince is better suited on the bench and while today that wasn’t an option, this game made it clear he should only be starting when the team is short-handed.

Grade: C

D’Angelo Russell

33 minutes 11 points, 9 rebounds, 17 assists, 1 steal, 4-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-3 FT, +9

Russell was the distributor for the team tonight with a whopping 17 assists. He stayed aggressive in the pick-and-roll with Davis and with the ball in his hands, he kept the Lakers offense humming along, resulting in a 138-point night for Los Angeles.

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