D’Angelo Russell scores 28 points in return, leading Lakers past Raptors
LOS ANGELES (AP) — D’Angelo Russell had 28 points and nine assists on his dynamic return from a six-game injury layoff, and Dennis Schröder added 23 points and seven assists in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-112 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday evening.
Austin Reaves scored 18 points while Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt each added 16 points as the Lakers won for the seventh time in nine games, though this time Anthony Davis made only a minor contribution.
The superstar’s big man had just eight points and nine rebounds while struggling against Toronto’s defense, but Russell and the Lakers reserve took charge before Davis sealed the win with his only second-half field goal 46 seconds from time.
“To be able to get that win against a really good team with only eight from[Davis]is a sign of growth,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham. “It’s a sign of how deep and talented we are.”
Russell was the heart of the Lakers’ activities at the close of trade, but the point guard appeared in just four games to start his second stint in Los Angeles before spraining his right ankle. He returned to the starting lineup with a springy step, hitting five 3-pointers while making and celebrating a string of high-difficulty games that repeatedly had the Lakers home crowd roaring.
“I know that from here (before): the fans are ready to explode at a certain point in the game,” Russell said. “I just wanted to bring that energy and give them that. … It shouldn’t go unnoticed because our fans are the first to put a battery in the back of someone who has a little momentum. So why not do the right things, bring that positivity and embrace what our fans have to offer?”
The Lakers moved up to ninth place in the Western Conference with a win over Memphis three days ago and are shining despite LeBron James’ long absence. Russell and Schröder led a stellar performance as the Lakers clinched their sixth win in eight games since the All-Star hiatus. Los Angeles also went 19 for 19 at the free throw line.
Scottie Barnes scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the second half, and OG Anunoby made his first 11 shots, scoring 31 points for the Raptors, who had won seven straight away games against the Lakers since 2014.
Anunoby attributed the Raptors’ fourth-quarter struggles to “being comfortable, getting stops and playing with confidence. They fired shots and it just spread.”
Toronto went 4-1 in a five-game road swing crowned by back-to-back losses at Los Angeles, despite long stretches of strong play throughout the trip.
“Sometimes you can play bad basketball and win every game,” Anunoby said. “You’re just trying to take the positives out of the losses, take them and win the next game.”
Russell amassed 12 points and seven assists in the first half while the Lakers erased an early 15-point deficit in a game with several wild momentum swings. The Lakers managed just four field goals in a nightmarish third quarter, but took a nine-point lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 26-8 run.
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D’Angelo Russell, in return, scores 28 points, leading Lakers past Raptors, which originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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