Dennis Schroder Lauds Lakers’ ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality
March 3, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) shoots the basketball against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (22) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since returning from the seven-day quarantine, Dennis Schroder has been proving he is gradually becoming one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ leaders this season.

The guard’s comeback last week mightily helped L.A. snap its four-game losing streak with a win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Schroder also led the team with game-high 28 points and nine assists in the recent 123-120 loss to the Sacramento Kings in the absence of three Lakers starters, including LeBron James.

But the playmaker refused to accept praise for stepping up in a time of need and instead lauded the team’s “next man up” mentality. “We just play basketball, have fun,” Schroder said. “Move the ball. It was great in the first quarter [against Sacramento].

“Got off on a hot start, I believe. Played great defense as well, but then the second quarter we didn’t play right. Turnovers on my end as well, but I think we fought. … We did a great job just competing out there and I think overall we did a great job.”

Schroder also gave credit to fringe Lakers players who rarely appear on the court — such as Jared Dudley and Alfonzo McKinnie — for their professionalism and readiness to help even though they get off the bench only sporadically.

L.A. slipped into fourth in the Western Conference standings as the Kings loss marked the team’s seventh defeat in the last 10 outings capping off the first half of the 2020-21 season. Schroder said L.A. would as usual go back to the film room and make sure the team bounces back when the games resume after an eight-day break.

“I’m mad we didn’t win it, but we’re going to look at film when we come back and we’re going to be ready for the second half of the season,” he said.

Anthony Davis allowed to participate in light shooting drills

The recent Lakers slump coincided with Anthony Davis’ Achilles and calf injuries that ruled him out for several weeks back in February. The 27-year-old forward has already missed nine games due to the condition and his return straight after the All-Star break seems unlikely.

However, head coach Frank Vogel revealed Davis has been allowed to take part in on-court practice, adding his rehab is going as expected. “It’s just light shooting. We’re still on track for the four-week plan,” he said.

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