When the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors in one of the largest upsets in NBA history, it made people take notice.
A lot of things went the Lakers’ way as they managed to stifle the “splash brothers” duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson into 1-of-18 from beyond the arc. The defensive game plan of double-teaming Curry at the perimeter made the high-octane offense of the Warriors look absolutely miserable.
While there is no doubt the defense was the main reason for why the Lakers pulled off a convincing 17-point victory over the defending champions, it was also the play of 20-year-old rookie D’Angelo Russell which provided a key ingredient in the win. Russell even provided a spot-on impression of Stephen Curry when he knew a three-point shot was going in way before it did.
Russell scored 21 points and dished five assists on 6-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range. But more importantly, the rookie’s strong play caught the attention of the reigning MVP, Curry:
While the majority of the season has been a struggle for Russell due to head coach Byron Scott’s tough approach toward rookies, the young point guard has come around lately over his past 10 games—he’s averaging 18.2 points on an extremely efficient 46.3 percent from the field.
Although things looked grim early on, it appears Russell is on the right track to becoming a quality point guard in this league.