In a 40-point first quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers scorched the Toronto Raptors from 3-point range. However, the altercation between Dennis Schroder and OG Anunoby outrivaled the 3-point barrage as the dominant storyline.
After receiving a full-court pass in transition, Anunoby was on his way up for an easy layup. But Schroder caught up with the 23-year-old forward and pulled him down to ensure the shot wouldn’t leave his hands.
On Anunoby’s way down after the foul, Schroder helped him avoid hitting the hardwood floor by holding him up. In a strange turn of events, Anunoby got on his feet and threw Schroder to the ground, prompting both benches to clear out as an extensive scuffle materialized.
After reviewing the incident, referees ejected Anunoby along with Montrezl Harrell, who shoved Gary Trent Jr. hard shortly after the occurrence and became the third person to be involved.
Schroder proceeded to finish the remainder of the game and explained his thoughts on what transpired.
“It was unnecessary,” Schroder said. “I fouled him hard. No easy baskets for me. I tried to foul him, but still pick him up, so it’s not a dirty play. I don’t want him to get hurt. He clearly didn’t get hurt … after he just shoved me on my back. It’s just unnecessary.”
Schroder added he went back to the locker room after Harrell’s ejection and expressed gratitude to his teammate for sticking up for him the way he did.
“With Trezz, I would do the same thing for everyone in this locker room,” Schroder said. “We’re all brothers, family. After it happened and he got ejected, I went into the locker room during the game and I told him that I appreciate him and I would do the same thing for him. I’m really thankful for that one.”
Schroder said he watched the replay of the video that circulated, adding Anunoby’s move belongs in the wrestling ring.
“Yeah, I have seen the video,” Schroder said. “I don’t know what to say. He didn’t get hurt. I just tried to foul him hard that he doesn’t get an and one that’s it. … But what he did is just unnecessary. You got to go to WWE with that.”
Vogel wants Schroder to be ‘extremely assertive’ on offense
Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have searched for any possible source who can supply consistent offense to compensate for the production the superstar duo left behind.
Schroder’s speed and ability to attack the rim while spreading the floor has become a point of emphasis for the Lakers, and head coach Frank Vogel explained how he wants the 27-year-old guard to play.
“I don’t want to put any numbers on it but we want him to be extremely assertive and make the right play, is the simplest way to put it,” Vogel said. “If he’s getting to the rim and beating the help before it comes and can put up 30 points, great. If he’s drawing a crowd every time he gets to the paint and finds people for extra passes like he did last night, he had eight assists and 13 potential assists, meaning passes to guys that missed the shot or got fouled, that generates high-quality shots for our offense and that’s what we want him to do.”
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