The Lakers have struggled all season, and this surprises no one. What is surprising, however, is the inconsistency from rookie D’Angelo Russell. His rookie campaign started off turnover-ridden with a lot of bad shots. As of late, however, he’s been fantastic, but it’s taken him up until this point to find a rhythm and consistency. He was deemed as the heir apparent to Kobe Bryant, and it seemed like he couldn’t fit that role.
Over the last three games, though, Russell has scored 83 points total, while only committing five turnovers and shooting 57% from the field. Of those 83, 39 came Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets as the Lakers won 107-101. Russell had the hot hand all night, finishing 14/21 from the floor and 8/12 from three; six rebounds and three assists rounded out his stat line. Jordan Clarkson pitched in 16, and Roy Hibbert and Julius Randle added 14 points each and hauled in 18 combined boards.
After drilling back-to-back threes with under a minute left in the fourth, Russell wants you to know he has ice in his veins.
Russell became the youngest Laker since 1963 to score 39 points in a game, beating Andrew Bynum by more than a year.
The Nets kept it close, but the Lakers outside shooting was the winning factor. The Nets haven’t been able to defend the three all year, and the Lakers shot 42% on Wednesday — ten points above their season percentage. All of Brooklyn’s starters scored in double-figures and Lopez led with 23 points. Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Sean Kilpatrick played 21 minutes for the Nets, scoring eight points on 3/8 shooting.
Both teams travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets. The Lakers will be there on Wednesday, followed by Brooklyn on Friday.
Around The League
Golden State narrowly beats Atlanta in overtime, 109-105. Steph Curry didn’t play because of a left ankle injury, but the Warriors showed great all-around effort. Klay Thompson led all scorers with 26, and Draymond Green did it all yet again, totaling 13 rebounds, nine assists, four steals, one block, and even threw in 15 points.
Miami sticks with Hassan Whiteside coming off the bench, and it’s working marvelously for them. Against the Bulls, Whiteside went for 26 points, 14 boards, and four blocks in a win, making him the fourth player since 1983 to record those as a reserve. It was his fifth 20/10/4 game this year, tying Anthony Davis for the league lead.
The Damian Lillard/C.J. McCollum duo continues to pour in points for the Blazers. This time, the Knicks were on the losing end of a 55-point effort from the two guards. Lillard led the way with 30.
PHX 92 – CHA 126
CHI 111 – MIA 129
POR 104 – NYK 85
ORL 108 – DAL 121
ATL 105 – GSW 109
BKN 101 – LAL 107