D.J. Augustin is quickly proving to be a valuable pick-up for the Los Angeles Lakers since joining L.A. in March.
Augustin comes off his best performance in a Lakers jersey, scoring 20 points on a perfect 7-for-7 from the field against the Cleveland Cavaliers — with six of the shots coming from beyond the arc.
The veteran’s red-hot shooting helped the Purple and Gold seal a crucial win and retake the ninth spot in the Western Conference from the New Orleans Pelicans. After the game, Augustin credited LeBron James and Russell Westbrook with creating space for the team’s shooters, generating plenty of open looks along the perimeter.
“It’s different. Sometimes I had to create my own shot off a pick-and-roll, playing off of big men and other guys. Playing with Bron and Russ, people are double-teaming them and running guys at them for no reason,” he 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.”
Augustin added the Lakers remain confident in their ability to win games and make a strong run in the playoffs.
“I think on the inside we all believe in each other and believe in what we can do,” he said.
“We’ve had some bad losses since been here and games we should’ve won. Whatever happened before I got here, I wasn’t honestly paying attention because I was with another team, but like I said, internally we feel like we’re a great team and we can do something special. Make a run, get into the playoffs and make a run in the playoffs.
“As long as we believe in each other, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. Just being together. Coach preaches that every day. Togetherness.”
Augustin ‘couldn’t pass up opportunity’ to play for Lakers
Augustin saw himself as a good fit besides James and Westbrook when the Lakers showed interest in signing the guard. Hence, he made sure to promptly seize on the opportunity to join L.A. when it came up.
“Just excited No. 1,” Augustin said. “No. 2, just to be a part of this franchise and have this opportunity to play with this group of guys and actually play for something is something that doesn’t come around often.
“I’ve been in the league 14 years and something like this is really special in my eyes at this point of my career. So I’m super excited.”
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