If you are riding a high after D’Angelo Russell’s scoring outburst sunk the Nets, I can’t blame you. It’s rare a rookie has the type of night Russell had, as evidenced by it being the highest scoring night for a rookie this season and the most points a Lakers’ rookie has scored since Elgin Baylor in 1959. That means no Lakers rookie since the team moved to Los Angeles has ever had the scoring night Russell did last night. Kind of crazy.
Going from that type of game, however, to playing on the road in Denver the following night (tonight) will offer its challenges. The Nuggets aren’t the best team and are dealing with injuries, but teams flying east into Denver after playing the night before typically fare poorly. I do not have a recent stat on this, but several years ago the numbers were something along the lines of the Nuggets being 42-1 over a stretch when facing team under those circumstances.
Fact is, the airport in Denver is not very close to Downtown where the hotels are arena are located and after playing a late west coast game and then flying east where you lose an hour, only to have to play a game at altitude…it’s not a formula for success. This is what the Lakers are up against tonight.
This doesn’t mean they cannot win, but it will be difficult. Things get somewhat harder with Lou Williams not playing — he didn’t even travel with the team — after suffering a strained hamstring versus the Nets. In fact, Williams will be out at least a week and maybe longer. This means more minutes for the young players, but also minutes for Marcelo Huertas as a backup PG to play next to Clarkson and Russell or in other mish-mashed lineups with Anthony Brown, Nick Young, and Kobe.
And while the Nuggets are banged up, they are not without talent. They have some talented big men (Nikola Jokic, Joffrey Lauvergne, Yusuf Nurkic), some exciting and young wings (Will Barton, Gary Harris), rookie PG Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried playing well at PF, and some solid veterans (Jameer Nelson, DJ Augustin). They also have Michael Malone as their head coach, who I really like. This hasn’t been enough to make a lot of headway in the crowded west, but with Wilson Chandler out all year and Danilo Galinari also missing time (he recently tore ligaments in his ankle and will not play tonight), that’s to be expected.
They certainly have enough to give the Lakers issues tonight and, when added to the issues I pointed to at the top of this post, I don’t expect the Lakers to actually win this game. That said, some good performances from Russell, Clarkson, and Randle would not be out of the ordinary. So I’ll be watching just to see if they can keep the good vibes going.
Where you can watch: 6:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
I actually think we have a shot in this game. I think Lou Will going down is kind if a blessing in disguise because it will allow our young guards more time in the floor and we can get a better glimpse of what we can expect in the future. I don’t expect DAR to repeat that monster game but i hope last night was the beggining of some sustained production…
I can’t believe how excited we are all getting about beating the nets
Has anyone else seen youtube video nba top conspiracies
I’ve been saying they should have been playing Huertas more all along. Swear.
Reasons to get excited about beating other bad teams:
1. It shows growth.
2. it showed that the young guys are getting better in spite of their surroundings/coaching
3. Shouldn’t we be happy with wins, especially entertaining ones?
4. Our young guys, especially the guy people have been calling a bust for the past few weeks, played exceptionally well.
Those are all good reasons to be happy we beat the Nets. And any other team we beat for the rest of the year. Especially with our young guys playing well. If you can look at games that way, it will be more fun for you as a fan.
Hope Russell has another good game.
@matt I don’t watch those conspiracy videos but i tell you this, if the Lakers get the #1 pick people will be yelling conspiracy for decades to come…
Im excited about the win it just seems so odd
Nice offensive half. Let’s see how the legs hold up in the second half.
DAR shining again…
Denver can’t shoot
Anthony brown looked good in college what happened
Russell and Mudiay may have a lot of good battles over the next few years.
I knew we should have picked … DJ Augustin
any update on clarksons patellar strain? cant find much
…”and the most points a Lakers’ rookie has scored since Elgin Baylor in 1959. That means no Lakers rookie since the team moved to Los Angeles has ever had the scoring night Russell did last night. Kind of crazy.”
In the regular season, perhaps. Let’s not forget Magic scored 42 as a rookie in the NBA Finals.
Great game by Russell. Looking forward to watching this kid continue to improve.
Ivica zubac, 19 year old Croatian center