D’Angelo Russell has been excellent for the Los Angeles Lakers since returning from his sprained ankle. While he didn’t have the offensive explosion against the New Orleans Pelicans like he did in the prior two games, he still provided an excellent all-around showing to help the Lakers come away with the win.
Russell finished with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks as the Lakers ran away with a win over the Pelicans. But there is no time for celebration as the Lakers must turn right around and head to Houston for a back-to-back against the Rockets and they will have to do so without Anthony Davis.
The Lakers still have not cleared Davis to play back-to-backs, which means it will be on Russell and the rest of the team to step up and the Lakers’ point guard is ready to do whatever needs to be done to come away with the win against an admittedly dangerous team, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I’m gonna wait until tomorrow honestly to adjust that. Obviously, it’s gonna be a lot of guys having to step up and try to get easy buckets, collectively on defense do it as a unit, things like that to make up for his absence. As far as for me, I try to play the right way no matter who you’re playing against. If I have openings and I feel like I can be super aggressive, you’ll see me being aggressive, but if its not my night I’ll continue to try to make the right play and things like that.
“And Houston’s a dangerous team. They just beat Boston, they’re enjoying the buzz. A lot of teams that didn’t win all season try to make up for it at the end of the year like this, and you come in there with the wrong mentality, they’ll take advantage of it. Just trying to have the right business approach going into the game is one thing I can control and then we’ll see what the opportunities present when the game starts.”
As Russell noted, the Rockets are flying high after their best win of the season over one of the best teams in the league so if the Lakers come into the game unfocused, they can easily get ran out of the building.
The Lakers may need Russell to be aggressive, especially as a creator and without the gravity that Davis brings to the team offensively. It will take a team effort, but getting a win would be huge not just for the Lakers’ morale, but for their standings in the West.
D’Angelo Russell talks bringing energy to the Lakers’ crowd
Russell also takes a lot of pride in bringing the energy to the Lakers home crowd. He can regularly be seen playing to the fans in the midst of the game and that is not by accident.
“Energy. I keep saying it, but the fans here, I know this from being here, the fans are ready to explode at a certain point in the game. It could be the start of the game then it dies down a little bit and in that third quarter and fourth quarter, they’re ready.
“So I know that. I just want to bring that energy and kind of give them that. Vando is making all these Dennis Rodman plays for us. I want to be the guy that’s hyping up the crowd and letting them feel that more because it’s huge for us. You’ve got Austin Reaves coming in and dominating the game. [Dennis] Schroder and those guys dominating. Rui [Hachimura]. I want to be the guy that’s kind of hyping that because it shouldn’t go unnoticed and our fans are the first ones to kind of put a battery on someone’s back that has a little momentum, so why not? … Just trying to bring that positivity and embracing what our fans have to offer and giving it to them as well.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!