Watch: D’Angelo Russell Sinks the Nets

Darius Soriano —  March 2, 2016

It’s fun when things just sort of work out, you know? A day after Reed put up a post detailing how strong a season D’Angelo Russell is having and how, due to a slow start, it has gone a bit under the radar, Russell has his best game of the season and leads the Lakers to a win in the most not-under-the-radar way imaginable.

Russell scored a game high 39 points – including 24 in the 2nd half – and sank 8 three pointers with the final one being a d’agger which closed the door on the Nets. It was a virtuoso performance from the just turned 20 year old and gave a glimpse of what he is capable of when things start to click. I mean, just look at these shots.

As noted in the clip, Russell’s 39 points were the most for a Lakers’ rookie since Elgin Baylor scored 55 back in 1959 when the team was still in Minneapolis. His 39 were also the most by a rookie this season, surpassing the previous high of 35 by Karl Anthony-Towns.

What impressed me most — well, besides the shot making — was how good Russell’s movement was, with and without the ball, to get open. The ones that stand out most to me are:

1). The three pointer in the corner off the assist from Anthony Brown where Russell attacked the rim, kicked the ball out on a nifty pass to Brown at the top of the key, then used his momentum of going to rim to run to the corner to get open. Steph Curry is a master of this type of movement, but Russell did a pretty good impersonation.

2). The three pointer in the corner off the assist from Larry Nance Jr. After Nick Young drove and dished to Nance, Russell saw his man ball watching and slid behind him to the corner. This not only set Russell up for an easier shot while taking advantage of his defender slepping, but gave him a better passing angle for Nance to even hit him with the pass.

3). The layup off the no look pass from Clarkson. Russell’s man wasn’t even sleeping fully, but he still made a strong cut behind him. The finish around Thad Young was also nifty with Russell using his full extension to keep the ball away from the help defender. Clarkson’s pass was also fantastic.

This may be the first time Russell has put it all together in a single game — the deep ball shot making, the cutting, and the finishing in the paint — but if you’ve been watching this year, you would know that these are all tools he has in his box. To see him finally find his stride and get his entire game going was sweet to see.

Who knows if this is a signature game or a performance Russell uses as a stepping stone for the rest of the year.┬áBut, regardless, I’m going to savor this one. It’s rare you see such a young player explode in this way and to do so with such huge shots down the stretch to seal the game made it even better.


Darius Soriano

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12 responses to Watch: D’Angelo Russell Sinks the Nets

  1. Sweet!

    I never doubted the Lakers picking DAR over Oakafor (heh heh kidding …)

    But yeah as Darius states, this is something to savor.

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  2. Thought Lakers should have selected Okafor.
    TBD if DAR was the correct pick.
    Trend is favoring Lakers decision.

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  3. Robert (R): Props to you. You’re good nature is appreciated!

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  4. Was it the “New Offense”? Good game for the youngster. Hard to believe that he was still in high school two years ago. Being so young you should expect more bad games than good games, but this shows what is possible everything works out. Hopefully this game will foretell many more such performances.

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  5. Savor is right. It’s one game, but what a game. Fully expect him to have some bad nights and tonight will be an interesting test – back-to-back after a big game and head-to-head against Mudiay. Most importantly, DLo’s performance is trending in the right direction.

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  6. The emphasis on his passing coming into the season (that assist to Bass!) overshadowed how well he could work off-ball. I love how many of these baskets are assisted (8 of his 14 baskets were assisted, he had 3 assists of his own, the team had 22 total assists). He may be the best Laker at moving off the ball right now, which is an entirely different way to encourage team ball movement than what has been expected from him. It really opens up the type of versatility that this young core could build into something special down the line. If Clarkson and Randle show similar ability to switch up their roles, it could be fun.

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  7. Bruce McNall,

    Just for the record, Robert and R are two different people, unless I/we have multiple personality disorder!

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  8. R,

    My unsolicited advice would be to ignore people who talk trash about predictions, like little Brucie up there. Everyone will be right sometimes and wrong others. I (and others) have been right about the arc of the team the last three years, but I have been wrong about all kinds of other stuff.

    And with drafting–it is an art as well as a science, so even the experts make mistakes and all of us are working with limited data/info. It isn’t like Nick Young’s deal or Kobe’s extension where we have all kinds of data. Finally, of course, the career arcs of the 2015 draftees are all nascent.

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  9. DAR plays like a hybrid of Deron Williams and Sam Perkins. His size, athleticism and the way he moves is similar to Deron, and he has that smooth lefty release that Perkins had.

    I’m not going to get too excited over one game. After all, he was playing against Donald Sloan and the Nets who were on a second night of a back to back…. but his potential as an elite shooter was beautiful to witness.

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  10. – These last 20 games or so have just become more interesting…for a few reasons. Get ready Darius.

    – So, do we give Scott credit? Did his grand plan of teaching DAR how to be a pro work…or is it something else?

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  11. Former Laker Andrew Goudelock signed on with Houston today. I hope mini-mamba does well but not Houston.

    I’ve missed so many games this year… but maybe that’s best from my emotional health. The pattern of hoping to lose is repulsive. Good to read that the youngsters are getting some tail-end of the year opportunity. Randle and Nance seem to be capable of consistent double/doubles. I was looking forward to Metta rubbing some defensive desire onto Randle. We shall see.

    Just as I was on the Shaun Livingston bandwagon for years before G State got him I’m advocating Larry Sanders for the starting C spot, letting Hibbert fall out of town and bringing Upshaw in to be the Sacre-in-training.

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  12. Hale, I think Shaun Livingston would have had an exceptional career if not for the gruesome leg injury he suffered early on. He is really a fine player.

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