The most impressive win of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers might have occurred last week against the Miami Heat. The short-handed Lakers walked away with a 112-109 victory at home, where Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder helped lead the way.
Lakers center Thomas Bryant also assisted in the team win, scoring 21 points with nine rebounds. In a heavy-weight battle where L.A needed rim protection, an additional source of scoring and high energy, Bryant provided those skills and more to a team that needed answers down the stretch in the fourth quarter to support Schroder’s elite performance.
When Bryant was asked about Schroder during his postgame interview, Bryant highlighted Schroder’s toughness and resiliency. The two Laker teammates have grown together this season when they both rehabbed thumb injuries and the center recognized the valuable skills Schroder provides to the franchise.
“He’s one of the toughest guys on the team. Just from building the chemistry with him when we came back from our injuries together. And then until now, it’s just like he’s never changed. He’s, if anything, he’s leveled up to where we want to rise our levels up even more to what heed to what he’s doing, especially what he did tonight. And his toughness and resiliency that he showed, like I remember in the time when he sprained his ankle Coach tried to take him out. And he said, ‘No,’ he didn’t want to get up. He said, ‘Let’s be great.’ And he went out there, and you saw what he did. He was great. You know you got to tip your hat with that, and that shows the resiliency, the toughness you know that we have on this team. When one player does that, everybody else brings their level up, too.”
With Bryant’s high regard for the combo guard, it seems like Schroder is a match made in heaven for a Lakers team that lacks shot-creators and spark plugs. Head coach Darvin Ham stated in the offseason that he wants L.A to be tough, and Schröder is really providing that in the middle of the season.
The Lakers supporting cast minus LeBron James and Anthony Davis have shown flashes of pulling together and overcoming challenging tasks. Once you add some of the best players in the world to that mix, the question now becomes if the Lakers can stay consistent and compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Bryant doesn’t concern himself with filling Davis’ shoes
The Lakers are trying to hold their ground with Davis sidelined with a foot injury. While his rehab is going according to plan, the Lakers should expect to play without their superstar big man for the next couple of weeks.
It can easily be noted that size has been an issue for the Purple and Gold. However, Bryant has stepped up to the plate on both ends of the court while AD is recovering from injury.
When asked about his new and increasing role with Davis out, Bryant explained how he doesn’t concern himself with trying to fill his shoes. Bryant doubles down on focusing on his teammates, and how his true playstyle can help the Lakers be competitive in their superstar big man’s absence.
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