Without either of their superstars available, the driving force for the Los Angeles Lakers in their 112-109 victory over the Miami Heat was point guard Dennis Schroder. It was Schroder who took on the bigger scoring load with a season-high 32 points while also adding four steals in the Lakers’ win, but that performance didn’t come without some concern.
Schroder turned his ankle in the fourth quarter of the game but gutted through the pain to pour in 14 of his 32 points to ensure the Lakers came away with the home win. But Schroder had to convince head coach Darvin Ham to let him play through the injury.
“Yeah, I mean, Darvin [Ham], he tried to protect me and said that he didn’t want me playing on one leg,” Schroder said after the game. “But I felt pretty good. So I told him to let me play and to trust me, then I will be great. He said, ‘Yeah, be good.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna be great. Don’t worry about it.’ And luckily, we got the win. That’s all that matters.”
Who knows what would have happened had Schroder been sat down for the fourth, but thankfully he was a man of his word and really was great. Now his focus is on ensuring that he will be ready the next time the Lakers take the court.
“And I’m pretty sore right now, but I’m gonna take care of it,” Schroder added. “Make sure I get a lot of treatment on it tomorrow and tonight, and then be ready in two days for Atlanta.”
After a performance like this, Schroder definitely wants to be back on the court to continue to build on the momentum. And in some ways it felt like the injury wound up sparking Schroder as he took things to another level. But Schroder brushed off the idea that the injury sparked a greater focus.
“Not really, like I said, I just try to be there for my teammates,” the Lakers point guard noted. “I feel pretty good after. Of course, I was sore, and I’m hurt. But you know, I know my limits. So I was ready to go and try to get a W.”
On this night, Schroder was exactly what the Lakers needed to get that victory and now the team finally seems to be building some momentum at the start of 2023.
Ham was among those to praise Schroder for him performance although he expects the ankle to be sore once the adrenaline wears off.
“A lot of times, when your adrenaline is pumping like that, you don’t feel it,” Ham said. “But I’m sure, later on tonight or in the morning, he’s going to feel that. Kid’s just a fireball of a competitor. And he showed that tonight.”
Dennis Schroder focused on being more aggressive with or without LeBron James
What stood out most in Schroder’s performance was his aggression in constantly attacking the basket. It was undoubtedly necessary with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis out, and Schroder is focused on maintaining that even when they return.
“Yeah, I mean, I got to be more aggressive anyway. So even when AD and Bron coming back, I gotta be more aggressive to open up stuff for them,” Schroder said. “And the watch over the last couple of games be more aggressive. And tonight hearing Bron is sick and AD is out as well, I think everybody just gave a little bit more. And that was my approach before the game. Just to be aggressive, help my teammates, go drive and try to find my teammates, and I was aggressive in the first half and second half.”
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