The Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers was a true team effort. Obviously, LeBron James led the way with his triple-double and some serious clutch baskets, but one of the biggest reasons the Lakers were able to come out on top was the play of veteran point guard D.J. Augustin.
Augustin was perfect on the night, knocking down all seven of his shots from the field with six of those coming from 3-point range on his way to 20 points. The point guard was absolutely crucial in keeping the Lakers in the game early on after they fell behind as 17 of those points came in the first half. Afterward, head coach Frank Vogel spoke on the new expectations for Augustin moving forward.
“I don’t think he can be any better,” the Lakers’ head coach said. “I think the expectation now is he’s showing he can shoot a 1,000 percent from the field and now we expect him to do that going forward. Not allowed to miss any more shots. Joking, obviously.”
Vogel having a little fun after a victory is something that hasn’t been seen often this season, but it is good to see the Lakers coach in good spirits. The fact that it was Augustin, someone Vogel has coached in the past, likely adds to that and Vogel appreciates the calmness that he brings to the Lakers when he is on the floor.
“DJ is a heck of a player. I’ve coached him in the past. I’ve seen him grow even in the years after I was done coaching him in Orlando,” Vogel added. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in his floor game even though he’s undersized defensively.
“Just him knowing how to get through different situations. Mismatches and whatnot on the defensive side of the ball and he carries a threat to really shoot the lights out like he did tonight and he’s a really good pocket passer. There’s just a calm to our offense when he’s in the game.
Having a veteran out on the court who has been through so many situations throughout their career often makes a difference and that has been the case for Augustin. He is currently shooting 50% from deep and is already one of the best shooters on the team, which is the kind of player James knows he thrives with.
“I’ve always flourished in my career with shooters and D.J. is a shooter, he’s a big-time maker and every time I see him have any split-second of open, I’m gonna try to find him, especially if I have the ball in my hands,” James said.
Augustin says job is ‘pretty easy’ thanks to James & Westbrook
One of the reasons Augustin has been able to thrive during his time with the Lakers is his superstar teammates. With James and Russell Westbrook drawing so much attention, Augustin explained how his job is much easier now.
“Playing with Bron and Russ, people are double-teaming them and running guys at them for no reason,” Augustin said. “There’s a reason, but running at them. They’re basically just leaving us open to catch and shoot or swing, swing different options.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s our job, pretty easy, just to be ready. You have to be confident. You also have to work on your game outside and make shots. You just can’t catch and shoot and just think it’s automatic. We put in the work to be ready for those opportunities and like I said, they’re so unselfish. You just have to be ready to knock them down.”
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