Throughout this season, big man Wenyen Gabriel has been in and out of the Los Angeles Lakers rotation. But whenever he has gotten his opportunities, he has always given maximum energy and effort and that is what makes him stand out.
With backup center Mo Bamba out with an ankle injury, Gabriel’s opportunity for regular minutes has increased and he is taking full advantage of it. Gabriel was part of the Lakers’ bench unit that outscored Toronto 61 to 12 in Friday night’s victory and he made note of the trust everyone has in each other.
He revealed that his teammates vouched for him to stay in the game and expressed appreciation for it.
“We’ve all had moments where we’ve contributed to the team whether we’ve started or playing big minutes here and there. So we all got trust in each other,” Gabriel said after the Lakers’ 10-point victory. “Going out there as a group, just having confidence in each other. There was a moment where I got subbed out and I had my teammates out there vouching for me to keep me in the game. It was only a few more minutes, but that meant a lot to me. It shows that my teammates have trust in me, my coaches have trust in me and it shows that all of us have trust in each other.
“The ball was moving a lot and we were just sharing it and playing as one unit. That’s the type of stuff we need to win big games and games that we’re gonna play down the stretch.”
While Gabriel only scored four points, he added four rebounds and three blocks as his activity just creates so many opportunities. For his teammates to recognize his contributions and vouch for him to stay in will only instill more confidence in Gabriel moving forward.
That also shows just how close this Lakers team is already becoming and Gabriel believes this is a completely different team now. “Three weeks ago we were a different team, honestly. I’ve been through what, three different waves of players here? This is a team that there’s a different energy to this group we have right now and it’s something that’s really positive.
“We’re just trying to keep going in the right direction. We’re all focused on winning and we like this feeling right now and we’re gonna continue to try to get more wins.”
Thanks to these players coming together the Lakers are in the midst of their best run of the season and right in the heart of the playoff picture. If they can keep up this momentum there is a real chance the Lakers could push themselves completely above the the Play-In Tournament.
Gabriel enjoyed imitating D’Angelo Russell ‘Ice in my Veins’ celebration
As more proof of the Lakers continuing to come together, there was a moment in the fourth quarter where Wenyen Gabriel imitated the “Ice in my Veins” celebration made famous by D’Angelo Russell. Gabriel admitted that he was simply riding the wave of Russell’s excellent play.
“Just trying to imitate DLo real quick, you know what I’m saying? He was really balling out of his mind today and we were just riding that wave.”
The chemistry and confidence are quickly building within this team it is carrying them to victory after victory.
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