Darvin Ham Issues Statement on D’Angelo Russell After Lakers Beat Timberwolves

D'Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Getty D'Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After an extremely rocky start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have found their way to the playoffs. A series of trade deadline deals helped revamp the team’s roster, and on Tuesday night, they took care of business against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Play-In Tournament.

With the win, the Lakers will be the seven seed in this year’s playoffs and will take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite getting the win, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell struggled mightily. After the game, however, head coach Darvin Ham spoke about Russell’s importance.

“You’re gonna have rough nights out here,” Ham said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “I have all the confidence in the world in D-Lo. We’re going to need him on this run that we plan to make. Starting with Game 1 at Memphis. You just got to be able to snap back and bounce back. It’s a long season. Some nights, it’s not going to be your night. Again, that’s why you try to fortify your roster with multiple players who are capable of, once you call their number, they’re able to not just go out there and gobble up minutes, but get minutes and play at a high level. That just happened to be Dennis [Schroder] tonight. But make no mistake about it, we brought D-Lo here to come out here and be D-Lo, and to make plays. So, we’ll sit down, we’ll watch film as a group, and definitely communicate and just let him know that we’re going to need him. This may be a one-off, no doubt about it, but he’s going to be in the thick of things, at the forefront of us having success in the postseason.”

Against the Timberwolves, Russell finished the game with just two points, three rebounds, and eight assists on 1-of-9 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 shooting from behind the three-point line.

LeBron James Sounds Off on Dennis Schroder

At the end of regulation, Schroder nailed a huge three to put the Lakers ahead, but it was wiped away after Anthony Davis fouled Mike Conley on a three-point attempt. After the game, LeBron James praised Schroder and jokingly called out Davis for his mistake.

“I’ve been playing the game like that since I was a kid,” James said. “I drew the defense, trust your teammates, and he knocked it down. It’s unfortunate that AD [Davis] had a brain fart and messed his game-winner up.”

Davis made sure to apologize to Schroder post-game, too.

“I messed his game-winner up. I apologize. I apologize,” Davis said.

Lakers Championship Contenders With New Roster

After the trade deadline, the Lakers have played extremely well, and according to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, their starting lineup can compete for a title when at full health.

“The sample size is minuscule, but L.A. looks like a bona fide title contender when LeBron and AD are on the floor with D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Jarred Vanderbilt,” Bailey wrote. “Russell and Reaves provide the kind of floor spacing the Lakers were severely lacking before the trade deadline, and Vanderbilt spares Davis from plenty of dirty work.”

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