While LeBron James (22 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists) and Anthony Davis turned (17 points and 9 rebounds) in their usual strong stat lines, it was Montrezl Harrell that gave the Lakers a boost with a spark off the bench.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year lived up to his title, providing 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals in just 21 minutes off the bench.
Anthony Davis: Montrezl Harrell is ‘Special’
Harrell is averaging 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds this season in 25 minutes per game.
“You have to honor everything he does on the offensive end, whether he’s ducking in or rolling to the basket,” Vogel said, per Silver Screen and Roll. “He’s really picked up his offensive rebounding from early in the season and obviously gives us great defensive determination and fight as well with his communication. I thought he did a great job, not only rebounding the ball defensively but boxing out.
“It’s a selfless thing, to give yourself up, to get your body into a bigger guy like Valancunias and let some of the guards, or you saw Bron with 13 defensive rebounds. It lets some of the guards come back and rebound while he’s doing the dirty work underneath and wiping the crashes off of the glass. It doesn’t show up in the box score, but he really did a great job of that.”
Davis also commended Harrell, even calling him a “special talent.”
“He’s a hell of a player,” Davis said. “He brings that spark, that energy, off the bench. He’s able to get to his floaters, he stays on the glass offensively and gets us extra possessions, he’s great at defense and is continuously learning to adapt to our system — on both sides of the ball — but when you’re a special talent like he is, he’s able to adapt quickly.
Anthony Davis on Montrezl Harrell: "He's a hell of a player. He brings that energy, that spark off the bench…" pic.twitter.com/lsveGmT7sy
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 4, 2021
“When he comes in, we know who’s going to bring that energy. Whether we’re down or up, he’s going to bring that spark for us, either to get us back into games or increase leads.”
Lakers Still Working on Chemistry With New Faces
Harrell was among the new faces the Lakers added this offseason and it has taken some time for LA to build their chemistry. It is obvious things are progressing, but it’s taking some extra time with a shortened preseason and training camp.
“We’re learning each other,” Lakers center Marc Gasol said. “We’re learning how to win as a team together, trying to help one other be comfortable out there on both ends of the floor with communicating. It’s all a process, obviously. We always say that, but it truly is a process of becoming a team.
“We have new guys. We’re kind of going through mistakes, how you approach them and how you fix them on the fly. Not only how you’re being helped, but how you take it as a guy that probably made a mistake. And when it’s a hustle thing and you don’t have enough energy, somebody else comes to you or you bring the energy up for someone else — that’s all positive.”
The Lakers will have another chance to get better as they take on the Grizzlies in a rematch on Tuesday.