Calm and fast, all at once.
Here’s how D’Angelo Russell he can move with the basketball in his hands, deftly handling defenses with patience before sprinting to where he wants to get.
It’s deceptively fast, things happen faster than you’d expect.
That’s kind of how the game played out in Russell’s comeback, fast, devastating attacks that took the direction of the game and turned it sharply.
and Lakers the player was behind the wheel and speeding towards LA
Russell was in the middle of the biggest streak, hitting transition three-pointers and assists as the game swung wildly toward the Lakers throughout the second and fourth quarters.
He made five three-pointers and scored 28 points and led the Lakers to the A Victory 122-112 in a game where they trailed by at least 12 in each half.
“That’s why he’s here,” coach Darwin Ham He said.
Five Lakers scored in double figures, and the team endured big games from Scottie Barnes (32 points) and OG Anunoby (31 points on 12-for-14 shooting).
Anthony Davis took just seven shots and scored just eight points as the Raptors defense chased him. He swung a jumper with 46.6 seconds left to seal the Lakers’ third straight victory.
“It just shows the character he has,” Austin Reaves He said. “He was as happy tonight to get eight points as he was after scoring 39.”
The Lakers’ depth dominated, Wenyen Gabriel finished with a plus-19. It was the smallest plus-minus of any bench player who played for the Lakers on Friday night.
The Lakers made all 19 of their free throws and allowed just 22 points in the fourth quarter, but Russell’s return gave them a boost.
“His size, his skill set, his brain,” Ham said before the game when asked about what Russell brings to the floor. “I just think he’s a really talented, smart basketball player and you have to match him. He’s also a smart defensive player, so he’s just another addition that we’re really, really excited about, and people got an early taste of what he brings. Recovery from injury is a great time LeBron’s circumstances. But we’re looking forward to that great addition and expect him to be a kind of spark plug for us.”
After a slow start with the Lakers quickly falling behind by 15, Russell led the Lakers on a 21-5 run in the second quarter, showing why the team valued him at the trade deadline.
His return was also energizing Dennis Schroderwho moved to the bench and could give more while less was asked of him, another playmaker and ball player back on the floor.
Without Russell, Schroder’s offense took a serious hit, the wear and tear of running the offense visibly wearing him down.
But he played with more pace and burst on Friday, something Ham said before the game he expected to see.
“It’s tough when you’re the only traditional player in the lineup,” Ham said. “Having [Russell] to go out there and Dennis to be able to see that initial wave and automatically know when he checks in the game what we need to do, what we need to fix or what we need to maintain, that’s definitely a nice luxury to have with [Russell] now he’s back in the lineup. Just that one-two punch. So when he sits down. we have another orchestrator to organize us and set the tone.”
Schroder lost the ball the fastest, picking up four steals while scoring 23.
“That energy trickles down to everybody else,” Reaves said.
And while the Lakers’ offense remained neutral against Toronto’s size and strength in the third, Reaves kept them close enough. He ignited the crowd later in the half, driving through the middle of the field for a two-handed shot.
“We really gave it a good shot,” Reaves said. “…We had to make a few adjustments and just play harder.”
The Lakers went on a 32-11 run that stretched between the third and fourth to turn the game around one last time.
“We always say ‘Don’t get discouraged. Be more competitive,’ Ham said.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.