Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had his best performance of the season in the Lakers’ recent win against the Miami Heat.
He scored 32 points on efficient 8-for-15 shooting from the field plus 12-of-14 from the free throw line. It was his second 30-point outing of the season, but his most important one.
When the game wound down in the end, it was Schroder’s shot-making that kept the Lakers in front — he had six points in the final minute of the game including four free throws.
Schroder’s first season in L.A. was the 2020-21 season, but he didn’t return after one year. The hiring of Darvin Ham opened the door for Schroder’s return to the Lakers. Schroder made the call to Ham expressing his interest in playing for him and a deal was made.
“Yeah, I mean, we’ve been in contact since he got that job in L.A. I called him and made sure to tell him that I’m proud of him. And over the years, even when he was in Milwaukee and I was in OKC, we still had contact,” Schroder said after the Miami game. “I made sure we saw each other when we played each other, a day before, went to dinner and talked about life and his family, my family and I mean when I heard he got that job in L.A. I was like, ‘Okay, let me call him.’ Let me make sure he knows that I’m proud of him and been talking for like 3-4 years when he becomes head coach that I want to be his PG, you know, and that didn’t change.
“That’s the reason why I said there was one another factor that I came to LA and that he trusts me. I remember Summer League my second year he was the head coach there and he just let me you know, be me. Right now, he keeps telling me be aggressive even when Bron and AD is there and Russ. Be aggressive and do your shit. That’s what he’s always said… And yeah, I got a shout out to him, whatever he said before I came here, he lived up to it, so I love him.”
Since Anthony Davis’s injury against the Denver Nuggets last month, Schroder has lived up to Ham’s wishes that he be more aggressive.
The guard has scored in double figures in a majority of the team’s games. Prior to that, he’d only scored double-digit points in three of the previous 10 games. With an increased workload, Schroder makes the Lakers a more difficult team to defend.
However, he’s simply struggled to find any consistency this season. He’s never scored in double figures in more than four straight games this season. A slow start to the year left Ham emphasizing Schroder was still finding his rhythm.
Ham still believed in his guard and it paid off against the Heat. After the Miami game, he reflected on what he saw from Schroder’s huge performance.
“Just the tenacious little kid that I fell in love with back in Atlanta in 2013. His rookie year was our first year in Atlanta and you could tell he was going to be special just because he put the work in and he was competitive,” he said. “And he’s always shined in big moments.”
A game like that can give you lots of confidence. Hopefully, Schroder can continue this form as the Lakers embark on another tough stretch of games.
Schroder convinced Ham to let him play through ankle injury
Dennis Schroder’s season-best performance almost didn’t happen.
After Schroder rolled his ankle with 5:41 left in the Lakers game against the Heat, Ham nearly pulled him out. Ham told the guard if he saw Schroder limping that he’d be taken out. Luckily for Schroder, he wasn’t and scored 12 of his 32 points after being injured.
The performance also included a timeout exchange reminiscent of a movie scene.
“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.”
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