As D’Angelo Russell made his much anticipated return, the vibes turned more immaculate on the side of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Shrugging off any rusts from the six-game absence he served from his ankle woes, Russell led the party in L.A. with his five raining triples, propelling the Lakers to a 122-112 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Russell impressed the Lakers crowd on the comeback game he made, dropping 28 markers and nine assists. His performance can’t be more perfect for the club to sustain their intensifying contention as they continue to rise since the All-Star break.
“I was just flowing, honestly,” Russell said with regards to his return from ankle injury, per Kyle Goon of Los Angeles Daily News. “Obviously this is my first game back and just itching to get back on the floor so to get back out there and perform and be back out there with those guys, they were playing at a high level and be able to contribute to that was just fun. I couldn’t help but smile.”
It was not just Russell who gave Lakers faithful a sweet Friday night sleep. Darvin Ham’s bench mob of Dennis Schroder, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura have combined for 61 gigantic markers to overwhelm the Raptors.
This collective contribution served its purpose to cover Anthony Davis’ off-night, who just finished with eight markers.
Despite attempts of Toronto to make a comeback with OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes carrying them, Russell didn’t remove his foot on the gas pedal to boost the Lakers towards the finish line. Carving 16 huge points in the final frame which includes a barrage of threes, Los Angeles made it to the finish line high spirited.
“I know this from being here, the fans are ready to explode at a certain point in the game,” Russell said. “It could be the start of the game, then it dies down a little bit, but in that third quarter, that fourth quarter, they’re ready. I know that. I just wanted to bring that energy and kinda give them that.”
With the victory over the Raps, the Lakers now have won seven of their last 10 games – elevating their record while at the ninth spot of the shaky Western Conference ladder.