Austin Reaves: ‘Super Important’ For Lakers To See D’Angelo Russell Get Off To Hot Start To 2024 NBA Playoffs
Austin Reaves, D'Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder, Lakers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After surviving the Play-In Tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their march toward another title on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.

The path to the 2024 NBA Playoffs was a tough one as the Lakers spent the last few weeks of the regular season clawing their way up the standings. Los Angeles was fortunate to end up in the eighth spot as it set up a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans for the rights to the seventh seed.

The Lakers dominated the Pelicans in the regular season finale, but the latter gave them everything they could handle in the rematch. D’Angelo Russell came up clutch for L.A., hitting a massive 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that sealed the win.

Austin Reaves acknowledged how important it is for the team to see Russell shoot so well from beyond the arc to begin the postseason, as seen on Spectrum SportsNet:

“Super important,” Reaves said. “One thing about us as a group, we know how good he is. And like you said, that first quarter, second quarter or whatever, especially the first quarter, he single-handedly kept us in that game. It could have been way worse than what it was, just five, six, seven, they got up to eight I think, maybe 10, but if it wasn’t for him, it could’ve been 15, 18, 20.

“Super talented offensively. I think he’s cherished the moment more this year in situations you see like Milwaukee at home when he hit the floater to go up one or two and in Milwaukee, late free throws, late buckets. But yeah, I was super surprised that they left strongside corner, I thought he was gonna fake and fade basically and I went to go do a Euro and realized he wasn’t going back and that’s a no-brainer, especially the way DLo shoots the ball. So super happy for him, happy for our ballclub.”

Russell shot a career-high 42 percent from the 3-point line during the season and his hot shooting kept the Lakers afloat against the Pelicans. Aside from maybe LeBron James, there isn’t another player on the roster like Russell who can go on a streak by themselves and turn the tide of a game in an instant.

After getting played off the floor last year, Russell’s shooting and scoring will be the X-factor in the series against Denver.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis credit other Lakers for stepping up against Pelicans

Anthony Davis and James had off nights shooting the basketball against New Orleans, but they credited their teammates for stepping up when they needed them the most.

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