D’Angelo Russell Believes Third Quarter Adjustments Helped Lakers Defeat Nuggets
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell needed a bounce-back effort in Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets after he struggled to provide anything for the Los Angeles Lakers in their Game 3 loss. And given that it was possibly their final game of the season before a contract decision, Russell had to prove he could be effective.

He certainly did so, scoring 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting while being a game-high plus-15 in an 11-point victory to end the team’s 11-game losing streak to the Nuggets. The Lakers were able to reverse the trends that had been haunting them in the first three games of the series by holding on to a halftime lead with strong performances in crunch time.

Russell, who has been a part of the Lakers blowing countless leads to the Nuggets in the second half, spoke about what finally happened for L.A. to stay ahead and get the win.

“I think that was like a third quarter adjustment for us to come out and prioritize getting a good warmup, attacking them in the third, not being on our heels and letting them attack us,” he said. “Obviously we’ve had leads to start the third, so I just thought we as a team locked in on the game plan and we attacked during that third. That was a result of us keeping that lead, staying at it. When we made subs, we still found a way to contribute to what we were trying to do, there was no let off. So it was huge.”

The Lakers guard said that in the previous games, Denver’s steady offense allowed them to climb back in when L.A. went cold offensively.

“I think that’s what’s hurt us in the previous games,” Russell said. “We found a way to score and get stops and then at some point we stopped getting good looks, stopped putting the ball in the hole, and they find a way within their system to continue to be efficient and get good quality shots. For us, that’s something we struggle with. For us to focus on it this game to continue to get good shots, to continue to push the pace, if something happens, keep going, next play mentality. We kept the pace in the game up and I think it played in our favor.”

Russell believes the Lakers being able to stay aggressive and consistent with their scoring gave them everything they needed to win, which he attributed them to being more organized and calling more plays.

“Huge. Obviously teams can get stops, get stops, and for us to get stops and score, it eliminates us from having these dry spells where they find ways to come back and get themselves into the game.”

If the Lakers hope to repeat their efforts in Game 5, they have to remember what was successful for them in the second half of Saturday’s win and how they can avoid the mistakes of the first three games.

Austin Reaves praises D’Angelo Russell for bounce back

After the Lakers were able to get their first win of the series, guard Austin Reaves spoke to the media and talked about D’Angelo Russell’s bounce-back performance.

“Yeah, he was amazing,” Reaves said. “Shot the ball well from 3, he was 4-for-8. He had one of his signature runs where he gets two to three quick buckets that feel like 12-0 runs itself. Just the style of basketball he plays, we need him to be at his highest level for us to be successful. Tonight that’s what he did. You tip your hat off to a guy like that. The world is killing him after Game 3 for the performance that he has. It probably is easier than a lot ya’ll think to just go fold and let that distract you. But he didn’t. You got to tip your hat to a guy like that. It just shows how much we need him.”

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