The most impressive thing about the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Toronto Raptors was that they got the win despite not getting much from Anthony Davis offensively. D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder, Jarred Vanderbilt, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura all stepped up as the Raptors’ defense swarmed Davis all night long, limiting him to just seven shot attempts.
But instead of forcing the issue and trying to take bad shots, Davis instead went with the flow and allowed his teammates to shine and that is something that really stood out to Russell.
“Selfless. … He’s selfless,” Russell said about Davis after the game. “I’ve been around a lot of players. Players of his caliber as well. For him to be selfless and allow guys Wenyen Gabriel, [Jarred] Vanderbilt to come in and stay in the game to control that momentum that we had going on was huge and it’s contagious for the rest of our group to want to play for one another. It starts with your best player, so for him to do that, kudos.”
That selflessness stood out to Reaves as well who believes that level of leadership is great for the rest of the team. “Yeah, it’s major. Shoutout to AD because the way that they were guarding him, it didn’t really allow him to get many touches or many looks,” Reaves noted. “Seven shots for a guy of that caliber. It just shows the character that he has. He was just happy tonight after winning and scoring eight points. … That’s super impressive when you got a leader like that. It trickles down to everybody else.”
It was Russell who took things over offensively for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 28 points to spark the Lakers to victory. Davis’ fadeaway jumper late in the quarter sealed things for good, and he added nine rebounds and four blocks as well, remaining active despite the slow offensive night. But with Vanderbilt and Hachimura pouring in 16 points apiece, the Lakers were just fine offensively.
Reaves finished with 18 points and five assists while Schroder added 23 points, seven assists and four steals as the Lakers bench dominated Toronto’s, outscoring them 61 to 12. Reaves believes this performance was a sign of the Lakers’ overall depth.
“I think it’s just the depth that we have,” the Lakers guard added. “We got a lot of guys like I mentioned earlier on the radio, that could possibly start on this team or other teams. So we just got to use that to our advantage and we did tonight.”
The Lakers continue to come together and are playing better with each game. It had been the big games from Davis sparking them previously, but even when he is off, the rest of the team can step up and that makes the Lakers very dangerous.
Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell says league is ‘lucky’ he sprained his ankle
Russell’s return to the Lakers lineup was much-anticipated after a sprained ankle sidelined him for the previous six games. The point guard came back with a vengeance and was clearly angry at having to sit out for as long as he did.
Russell said the league was ‘lucky’ that he sprained his ankle as he was ready to ‘go crazy’ and embrace everything that comes along with being a member of the Lakers. That being said, he was happy to see his teammates step up and play well in his absence.
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