The Los Angeles Lakers began their road trip with a big win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, locking in after giving up 71 points in the first half for the 121-115 victory.
A key contributor for the Lakers was second-year guard Max Christie, who got his second straight start in the absence of Cam Reddish.
Not only did Christie contribute 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, but he also played stellar defense on Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell in the second half. Mitchell was hot in the first half with 16 points although he finished with just 22 overall on 4-of-18 shooting.
After the game, Lakers star LeBron James praised Christie for his defense on Mitchell and overall play, believing the trust the coaching staff has put in him is giving him confidence, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think when you’re trusted by your coaches, one, that helps. So knowing that he’s gonna get his number called, he’s been ready. And he stepped up, he was big-time tonight. One of the toughest matchups in this league is Donovan Mitchell obviously with his ability to score at all three levels, from the 3-point line, from the midrange, getting into the paint. I just think he did a good job just trying to keep his body on him, make him take tough shots and not foul him. And he made some key shots for us too, he made plays for us. He was big-time.”
Davis echoed James’ thought in praising Christie for his defense on Mitchell, especially late in the game when it was close:
“Max just wants to win. He plays hard and took that challenge against a guy who is an elite scorer from all three levels. He made sure that he knows his tendencies and took on that challenge, especially late in the game when the whole arena knows that they’re going to him, especially with Darius Garland down and stuff like that. So he was a guy and got two big stops for us. There’s nothing much more you can ask for for him to only be in his second year took take on that challenge, it shows a lot about him.”
Christie was not in the Lakers’ rotation to begin the season although he has recently started getting regular playing time due to the injuries the team has been dealing with.
If Christie can continue this level of play, the coaching staff will have tough decisions to make when guys get healthy as he is looking like a rotation player that will continue developing his game with more playing time.
Ham gave shoutout to Christie after Lakers’ win over Cavaliers
James and Davis weren’t the only ones to praise Christie as Lakers head coach Darvin Ham also gave the second-year guard a special shoutout after the game.
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