Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers (5-5) overcame the absence of LeBron James and held off the Portland Trail Blazers (3-5) on Sunday night at Arena.

Coming off a shaky road trip, the Lakers — now 4-0 at home — barely passed the sneaky-tricky test. They saw an 11-point fourth quarter trickle down to one (six points is their largest winning margin of the season). They still can't hit a shot (4-for-19 from 3) and are still searching for an identity (the injuries don't help). Regardless, a defensive-minded, collective win is always productive.

“Guys are still figuring out their rhythms in terms of the synergy with one another, each other’s tendencies and habits,” Darvin Ham said afterward about the shooting woes. “But that’ll come. … The biggest thing that you can do in the meantime, though, is be good defensively.”

Unlike more than one occasion on the road trip, the Lakers brought the requisite hustle, grit, and intensity to Crypto. In particular, the following four players stepped up in a big way sans LeBron.

Anthony Davis

In the end, the Lakers won this game because they had the best player on the floor by a wide margin. After a relatively quiet first half within the flow of the game, Davis increasingly imposed his will as the action wore on. In 40 minutes, AD finished with 30 points, including 10-for-12 from the free throw line — always an indicator of his aggression — plus 13 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks (the Lakers were crushed when he was off the floor; it was tough-sledding for Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood). He made alpha plays on both ends in the final two minutes.

“I seen the ‘fro back tonight, so I knew it thought it was going to be a good day for him,” said Austin Reaves. “Anytime he gets on the floor — obviously, never want to have anyone out, especially Bron — but anytime you’ve got Anthony Davis, you’ve got a chance. Changes the game in so many different ways the stat sheet doesn’t even show.”

Cam Reddish

Reddish capped off the biggest week of his NBA career with another strong two-way showing. He easily led Los Angeles in scoring at the half and ended with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals in 38 minutes. He twice stole Blazers' in-bounds passes after made baskets. He (and Taurean Prince) made extra-effort open-court hustle plays to win possession.

Six days ago, Reddish missed a potential buzzer-beater. On Friday and Sunday, he totaled 35 points, made 6-of-11 from deep, and showcased elite perimeter defense.

“I feel like all my teammates have just done a great job of pouring into me and telling me how they believe in me,” he said. “I haven’t had an atmosphere like this, I don’t think, in my entire NBA career. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a blessing.”

Reddish is the feel-good story of the Lakers' first 10 games.

Austin Reaves

So far, Reaves “realignment” out of the starting lineup has proven successful. Reaves followed up a quality performance vs. the Phoenix Suns with an inspired 28 minutes vs. Portland. He was aggressive in the halfcourt, especially in the pick and roll with Davis. The overqualified Sixth Man posted 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.

“Basketball is basketball,” Reaves said about adjusting to his new role.

Rui Hachimura

Darvin Ham, frankly, doesn't care if Rui Hachimura starts or subs. He just wants the power forward in attack mode.

Hachimura, getting the nod in place of LeBron, was on the prowl in his first start of the season. His steady scoring (19 points, 6-for-10 FG) came in handy, while his defensive activity was at the center of the team's 35-20 lockdown third quarter. He kept his foot on the gas and repeatedly threw his large body around. His +17 checks out.

“I just think having Rui on the floor with an aggressive mentality is the Rui we all prefer,” Ham said.

Next up: The Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies for an In-Season Tournament matchup on Tuesday.