Russell Blazes Through Last Three Games
No rookie — and few players of any experience — has flown higher than D’Angelo Russell over the past week.
The recently-turned-20-year-old is averaging 27.7 points and 4.3 3-pointers over his last three contests.
His scoring ranks fifth in the NBA in this span, behind a slate of established superstars: James Harden, Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.* Meanwhile, only Durant has made more 3’s during this surge.
“Whenever you get that opportunity, it can be so small and you gotta really take advantage of it,” Russell said after Tuesday’s win over Brooklyn. “There are guys dying to be in this position. I’m here, so I don’t want to look back from this point.”
Russell — who has also contributed 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent — has made the most out of rejoining the starting lineup just 11 days ago.
“As we’ve gone month by month, I’ve gained more trust in him to be able to give him a much longer leash,” head coach Byron Scott said. “I didn’t think that was going to be a problem in the first place. It always takes rookies some time. For him it took a couple months, but, like I said, each month I was happier because he was getting better each month.”
Russell’s stellar week reached historic levels in that victory against the Nets, as he dropped 39 points and eight 3-pointers.
He became the youngest player to score that many since 19-year-old Kevin Durant on April 16, 2008. Perhaps even more impressively, nobody that young has hit so many triples in an NBA game over the past 52 years.
Likewise, his scoring total was the highest by a rookie Laker since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1960.
Russell, whose previous career-high was 27 points, saved his best for hero time, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to ice L.A.’s victory.
After his final 3, Russell pointed to his shooting arm and yelled, "I got ice in my veins!" It was a solution to a good problem to have.
“To be honest, I was running out of celebrations,” he said.
*Note: Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Kyle Lowry would be a part of this group, but each rested a game during this span.