When will D-Lo don the purple and gold again?
Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard D’Angelo Russell is currently missing his second straight game for LA, a hotly-contested battle with the scrappy Memphis Grizzlies. D-Lo hurt his ankle when he landed awkwardly on Golden State Warriors backup shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo’s foot in the first quarter of an eventual 124-111 LA win.
On today’s installment of ESPN’s essential basketball show “NBA Today,” Ramona Shelburne (h/t to Michael Corvo of Clutch Points) has revealed that LA is optimistic that Russell will be back on Friday, in time for the Laker’s next home game — against his last team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Can LA at least split these two games without Russell (he hasn’t officially been ruled out for tomorrow, but is certainly trending in that direction), against the Grizzlies and then the Oklahoma City Thunder? With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander having been shelved due to his annual wink-wink “injury” (Thunder team president Sam Presti loves those lottery picks, as you know, and is clearly hoping to soft-tank down the home stretch of the season), it does seem possible that the Lakers can at least win on Wednesday.
D’Angelo Russell’s averages through his three complete games for Los Angeles have been appetizing. The 6’4″ vet, a one-time All-Star while with the Brooklyn Nets, is logging 17.3 points on .450/.375/.769 shooting splits, 5.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in those contests. He left the Warriors bout in the first quarter, so I’m throwing those numbers out.
Reserve point guard Dennis Schröder has filled in competently without D-Lo, having scored in double digits in both his starts, but he lacks Russell’s shooting ability and is not quite as good a playmaker.
The Lakers will need Russell posthaste. All-Star small forward LeBron James will miss the next few weeks, at minimum, with a right foot injury, and it could really use his scoring and passing to stay afloat in the play-in tournament hunt.