D’Angelo Russell: Every Game Matters For Lakers In Standings
D'Angelo Russell, Stephen Curry, Lakers, Warriors
Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers had significant momentum building when they found themselves six games above .500 with matchups against the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors on the horizon. Wins in those two games could have put L.A. in a great position for the home stretch of the season. Instead, they took two losses, dropping them to No. 10 in the Western Conference. Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell had particular struggles with his efficiency in the two games, shooting 11-for-30 from the field.

Russell has been one of the major reasons the Lakers have been able to turn around this season at all and why they are in striking distance with 14 games remaining on their schedule. But if the Lakers are going to climb out of this hole and at least get to the No. 7 or No. 8 seeds, it starts with getting back on track immediately.

The Lakers guard is aware of what is in front of the team and what they need to prioritize in the final weeks of the regular season.

“It’s gonna take everything to scrape out some wins at this time of the year,” Russell said. “They all matter. Not really familiar with the standings, but I just think that this is just the momentum at this time of the year every game matters. Standings, all that matters.”

The Lakers have one more game against the Warriors and one against the New Orleans Pelicans with chances to defeat teams directly in front of them in the standings. They also have some more winnable outings against teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets.

As Russell says, nearly every game the rest of the way could be seen as a must win. The Lakers are not in danger of falling out of the Play-In Tournament altogether, but they’d at least like the opportunity to play for the No. 7 seed instead of needing to win two games to land the No. 8 seed.

D’Angelo Russell has leverage with player option

D’Angelo Russell’s elite play in the second half of the season not only changed the calculus for the Lakers at the trade deadline, but it also changed how the offseason might look for the veteran guard. He has an increasing amount of leverage over the Lakers because of a player option, and can essentially dictate if L.A. can use him in a trade for a superstar in the summer.

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