Magic Johnson Issues Strong Tweet on D’Angelo Russell After Lakers Win Game 3

Warriors' Klay Thompson guards Lakers' D'Angelo Russell

Getty Warriors' Klay Thompson guards Lakers' D'Angelo Russell

Hall of Famer Magic Johnson issued a tweet on D’Angelo Russell after the Los Angeles Lakers won Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors.

Johnson, who traded Russell to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2017 when he was working in the Lakers’ front office, said “D’Lo” deserved a lot of credit for starting the game off strong with his dominant first quarter.

“Let’s give D’Angelo Russell a lot of credit for starting us off strong in the first quarter with his hot shooting,” Johnson tweeted. “He finished with 21 points.”

Russell scored the first 11 points for the Lakers, who won Game 3 by a final score of 127-97. The Ohio State product finished with 21 points while shooting 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.

The Lakers lead the Warriors 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Los Angeles outscored Golden State 36-18 in the second quarter and never looked back. Anthony Davis led the purple and gold with 25 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, while LeBron James put up 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists despite not scoring in the first quarter.

Game 4 of this series is on May 8. The Lakers have to win again to maintain home-court advantage.

Magic Johnson in February: I Think D’Angelo Russell Has Really Grown & Matured

Johnson told Bryan Kalbrosky of For The Win in February that Russell has “really grown and matured” since his first stint with the Lakers.

“I think D’Angelo has really grown and matured,” Johnson told Kalbrosky. “He can score the basketball. He can pass the basketball. He doesn’t turn it over a lot. That’s what I like about him, too. That pick-and-roll with Anthony Davis is going to be special. You have to pick your poison for what you try to do whether it’s Russell coming off the PnR or Anthony Davis rolling to the basket and they’ll have some more time playing with LeBron. If the Lakers can get in, and I think they will, nobody is going to want to play them. That’s for sure.”

The Lakers acquired Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the February trade deadline. The one-time All-Star helped the LakeShow rack up the best record in the Western Conference after the trade deadline with his scoring and passing. Russell averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 48.4% from the floor and 41.4% from 3 in 17 regular-season games with Los Angeles.

D’Angelo Russell Becomes a Free Agent This Summer

Russell becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, but Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes the lefty re-signing with the Lakers “seems inevitable.”

“Russell has been a welcome fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the viable floor spacer Russell Westbrook couldn’t be for the team. L.A. may not offer as much as he’s currently earning ($31.4 million in the final year of his deal), but Russell could earn a similar deal to Jalen Brunson’s $26 million-per-year contract,” Pincus wrote on May 3. “The Lakers will have to mind the rest of their roster to avoid significant tax penalties with the new rules, but that shouldn’t get in the way of bringing back the 27-year-old guard. Russell could look for more elsewhere but may find the market is sparse. Most of the teams that could use him can’t afford him. The teams with money that may need a point guard include the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz. Houston may prefer Kevin Porter Jr. over Russell, assuming James Harden doesn’t join the franchise. The Magic, who have several young guards like Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, may not target Russell. A return to Los Angeles seems inevitable.”

According to ESPN NBA front-office insider Bobby Marks, Russell is eligible through June 30 to sign a two-year, $67.5 million extension with the Lakers. If the Louisville native and Los Angeles’ front office can’t come to terms on an extension, Russell will hit unrestricted free agency.