D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves praise 'selfless' Anthony Davis ...
Anthony Davis has been the fulcrum of the Los Angeles Lakers’ extremely successful last few weeks. The supporting cast has delivered, but AD producing at an elite level seemed to be a prerequisite for the Lakers to stay afloat in the playoff race.
In another flex by their new and improved ensemble, Los Angeles toppled the Toronto Raptors, 122-112, despite 8 combined points from LeBron James and AD.
Of course, LeBron remains out with a foot injury. But the fact that AD allowed his teammates to carry the load not only proved to be the correct basketball strategy — it fired up the locker room.
“It just shows the character that he has,” said Austin Reaves. He was as happy tonight … as he’s been when he had 39, 40, whatever. That’s super impressive when you have a leader like that. It trickles down to everyone else.”
“He’s selfless,” added D’Angelo Russell. “I’ve been around a lot of players. Players of his caliber as well. For him to be selfless and allow guys Wenyen Gabriel, (Jarred) Vanderbilt to come in and stay in the game to control that momentum that we had going on was huge. And it’s contagious for the rest of our group to want to play for one another. It starts with your best player, so for him to do that, kudos.”
The Lakers were ignited by major sparks by Russell (28 points, 9 assists, a bevy of arena-shaking pull-up threes), Reaves (18 points), Vanderbilt (16 points), Rui Hachimura (16 points), Gabriel (3 blocks, +19) and the ever-steady Dennis Schroder (23 points, 7 assists, 4 steals). The Lakers bench outscored the Raptors’, 61-12.
“It’s just like those types of energy plays, it really spreads throughout the team,” said Reaves about a Vanderbilt hustle play that led to an easy bucket. “The next thing you know you got another guy doing it and another guy doing it and another guy doing it. The bench tonight, everybody was almost a plus-20 and that’s what we are capable of because we’re so deep.”
Darvin Ham was giddy about the Lakers’ depth, as well.
“That’s a sign of growth,” he said about their success despite a single-digit AD night. “And that’s a testament to how deep and talented we are now.”