Much-Maligned Ex-Laker Exacts Revenge With ‘Cool’ Performance

Former Laker Dennis Schroder, Celtics

Getty Former Laker Dennis Schroder, Celtics

Give Dennis Schroder some credit. The former Lakers, and current Celtics, point guard could have strutted into the NBA interview room after he helped lead Boston to a win over the Lakers in LeBron James’ first game in two weeks, and could have been somewhat obnoxious.

Instead, he remained collected when asked about facing his old team. “It was cool,” he said “We competed out there. Luckily, we won the game. Now we gotta focus on OKC.”

Schroder mentioned that he had gotten hurt in Boston’s previous game, a loss to the Hawks, adding, “I twisted my ankle pretty bad (in Atlanta) … I had to get up for this one. I made it work.”

He made the Lakers work, too, and badly outplayed the guy who replaced him as L.A.’s starting point guard: Russell Westbrook. Schroder finished with 21 points (on 8-for-14 shooting), six rebounds and six assists, while Westbrook struggled for 12 points, six assists and four rebounds, shooting 5-for-13 from the field.

Schroder’s Lakers Breakup Was an Opportunity for the Celtics

It was a bad breakup with the Lakers, of course, that allowed Schroder to sign on with the Celtics in the first place. Schroder was acquired before the 2020-21 season in a deal with the Thunder for Danny Green, which looked like a steal for L.A. for much of last season.

In fact, Schroder played well enough last year that the Lakers offered him a contract extension and hoped to keep him place. Schroder turned down the Lakers’ original offer of two years and $33 million, the most the team could initially offer according to the collective bargaining agreement.

Brian Windhorst: Dennis Schroder has turned down an $84 million extension with Lakers | The JumpOn The Jump, Brian Windhorst discusses Dennis Schroder turning down a 4-year, $84 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kendrick Perkins says the Lakers should’ve gone “all-in” to trade for Kyle Lowry, because Schroder is a rental too. #NBA #Lakers #The Jump ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+: 📱Get the ESPN App: 🏀 Subscribe…2021-03-30T20:10:07Z

Later in the season, the Lakers were able to offer Schroder more, but he turned down what ESPN reported to be a four-year, $84 million deal. Schroder has disputed just how solid that offer was from the Lakers. Regardless, he did not sign an extension during the season, and struggled as the year came to a close.

Those struggles carried into the playoffs, where he averaged 14.3 points on 40.0% shooting and 30.8% 3-point shooting. By the time the Lakers were bounced from the playoffs in six games by Phoenix, the Lakers no longer wanted Schroder to be their guy long-term and his value had taken a nosedive ahead of the opening of free agency.

Schroder got no lucrative offers and had little choice but to take a $5.9 million deal with the Celtics.

Schroder Is a Major Bargain

Much to the chagrin of the Lakers faithful—and to the excitement of Celtics backers—Schroder has been rehabilitating his reputation thus far in Boston. Friday’s performance gave him five 20-point games in his last seven outings. He came into the game averaging 17.0 points on 44.0% shooting, making 32.8% of his 3-pointers.

It’s all easy to enjoy for the Celtics, because Schroder is such a bargain. Westbrook, meanwhile, is making 7.7x more than Schroder this season.

Schroder has been replacing star wing Jaylen Brown in the Celtics’ starting five, and it is unclear whether he will remain a starter once Brown returns from the hamstring injury that has kept him out for two weeks.

Marcus Smart: "We're not perfect, but the fight is within us" | Celtics vs LakersBOSTON, MA — Marcus Smart was interviewed following Boston's statement win over Los Angeles. Smart was encouraged by the resolve of the team and resilience they showed, especially once they started to attack the paint. "We're not perfect, but the fight is within us … it may not look like it right now, but we're…2021-11-20T04:22:53Z

“Dennis has been a great addition to this team, on that aspect of the floor, just being able to create for others and allow me to create for others as well,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “When we’re rolling like that, it gives the extra energy to everybody else to kind of get into their own game and get into a rhythm, and I think we saw that tonight.”

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