You (and Karl-Anthony Towns) might call the bounce on D’Angelo Russell’s game-winner against the Wolves on Sunday lucky but I think it was angel that made sure Mr Ice In His Veins gave the Lakers their fourth win in a row.
Earlier in the day, Russell found out his grandmother passed away. Coach Luke Walton and staff assumed he was going to sit the game out as Russell pondered flying back home to Louisville. His father and other family members urged him to stay and play so he decided to give it a go. He ended up with 16 points, 4 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and the buzzer beating shot that gave the Lakers a 110-109 victory. After hitting the shot, he went into the crowd to hug his family members as Laker fans celebrated around him.
“Honestly, I knew that’s what my grandma would have wanted,” Russell said. “My dad, my brothers, everybody wanted me to play. I wanted to get away from basketball.
“To win the game with a game winning shot, that’s God putting a cherry on top. A win would have been good enough.”
Russell also praised his grandmother after the win.
”She was a strong woman,” Russell said. “Like I said, she did a great job of raising my dad. Piggy-backing off that, my dad did a great job raising his sons and his kids in general; being a great father.
“That’s what she was put on this earth for.”
“You could tell he was hurting,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “I could tell it was painful for him, and it wasn’t easy to talk about, but you could see how much love he had for her when he was speaking about it, which was kind of awesome to see.”
Walton also said he got goosebumps just talking about how things turned out.
As for the failed tanking strategy, if the Lakers lose their final two games (which feels unlikely after their last four) and the Suns win their last two, the best the Lakers can do is tie the Suns for second-best odds in the lottery.