Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell To Pacers’ Bruce Brown: ‘Nikola Jokic Ain’t There Next To You Today’
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell and the Los Angeles Lakers were able to get some revenge on former Denver Nuggets guard Bruce Brown when they beat the Indiana Pacers to win the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Brown and the Nuggets got the best of the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals last season en route to their first championship and he did some smack talking along the way, particularly to Russell.

In the middle of the series, Brown revealed that the Nuggets were planning to attack Russell on defense due to his struggles on that end of the floor.

That is obviously not something Russell forgot as early on during Saturday’s game in Las Vegas, he started talking some smack to Brown. The Pacers guard picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and Russell pointed two fingers at him as he headed to the bench. Then when Russell got going offensively, he was looking right at Brown on the bench and shared a few words with him.

After winning the tournament, Russell spoke with Dan Woike of the L.A. Times about Brown and what he was saying to him, alluding to the fact that he is no longer on the Nuggets where he can rely on Nikola Jokic to back him up:

“He was talking s— all year. Yeah. Talking s— all year. For me, it was just showing it with my play. I don’t have nothing to say to him. I’m a fan of him to be honest,” Russell told The Times. “This was just all on the court. Got something to say? Show me on the court. [Nikola] Jokic ain’t there next to you today. It’s different.”

Russell definitely got the better of the matchup this time around as he finished with 13 points, four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one block on Bruce while the latter only had four points on 2-of-9 shooting.

The Lakers still have two more matchups with the Pacers this regular season, so there’s no doubt that we haven’t heard the last from Russell and Brown.

Russell speaks on what winning In-Season Tournament means for legacy

After the Lakers demolished the New Orleans Pelicans in the semifinals, Russell spoke on what winning the In-Season Tournament would mean for his legacy, which he has now accomplished.

“I think it’s huge. I think it’s huge,” Russell said. “Like Bron said, for Adam to be able to put the situation in the season like that and not lose a step, is good for the game. And obviously any city that’s playing in Play-In games, you can be in Detroit or wherever, those fans are going to come out. So, I think it’s huge for the game. It’s huge for the fans in those cities that may not ever get a playoff — may not ever be able to see the playoffs, so I think it’s huge.

“I think it’s a big deal, too. I think a lot of teams over sports will try to incorporate something like this just to kind of widen the variety of viewers, raising the level of regular-season viewers and things of all that. So, what he said was right. He’s a genius for sure.”

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