SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — D’Angelo Russell and the new-look Lakers figured things out on the fly to take down the defending champs on their home floor.
Working to get in sync with his new teammates and eager to complement Anthony Davis and LeBron James, Russell communicated on the court all game long after rejoining his first team where he played from 2015-17. The Lakers picked Russell second overall in 2015 out of Ohio State.
He had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in his Lakers return after being acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline, Dennis Schroder scored 26 points, and Los Angeles beat the Golden State Warriors 109-103 on Saturday night in a rivalry missing the star power of injured greats LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
“It was a little weird but I’m trying to normalize it,” said Russell, who also played 33 games for the Warriors during the 2019-20 season. “The sooner the better. I’ve been in this situation. … After that first stint you kind of get comfortable again. When you get traded so many times the irony comes back with all these teams and just kind of normalize it.”
Schroder made a key layup with 1:17 to play after Donte DiVincenzo’s 3-pointer cut the Lakers’ lead to 105-101. Davis had a double-double of 13 points and 16 rebounds and blocked one of his three shots on a late jumper by Klay Thompson.
“Me and D’Lo literally talked the entire game, about pick-and-roll, what he sees, what I see, what he like, what I like … just trying to build that chemistry on the fly, with no practice,” Davis said.
Jordan Poole had 29 points and six assists with a key go-ahead three-point play with 6:23 remaining, but the Warriors floundered down the stretch of the fourth quarter again. He was whistled for an offensive foul with 45 seconds left.
“They’re frustrated we couldn’t close out these last two games,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We just haven’t been able to string together enough wins to create a little momentum and separation in the standings.”
Poole scored eight straight points early in the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers that tied the game at 87 with 10:37 left. He also dished off to Ty Jerome for a layup with 5:01 to play.
James sat out his second straight game with a left foot injury since becoming the NBA’s all-time scoring leader Tuesday against Oklahoma City, while reigning NBA Finals MVP Curry was sidelined for a third in a row with a left leg injury.
Also playing his first game for Los Angeles following a trade from Utah, Jarred Vanderbilt contributed 12 points and eight rebounds as the last-place Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak. Fellow new addition Malik Beasley missed all six of his 3s and shot 2 for 9 on the way to four points in his first game for the Lakers after being traded by Utah.
“It’s a huge win. I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” coach Darvin Ham said.
A scan done on James’ troublesome left ankle and foot showed no serious issue.
Ham expects to see James back on the floor before the All-Star break. When asked whether James might need to be sidelined through the break, Ham offered, “No, I don’t think he’ll allow us to do that.”
General manager Rob Pelinka said earlier Saturday that nothing was seriously wrong for James, who topped former Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during Tuesday’s 133-130 home loss to Oklahoma City.
The game with Golden State marked James’ seventh sidelined by soreness in the left ankle.
PAYTON II UPDATE
The Warriors hadn’t made an announcement regarding Gary Payton II’s physical and whether they would go through on an agreed trade with Portland to bring the defensive-minded guard back to Golden State.
“Obviously, this whole thing has been strange. It is what it is,” Kerr said. “There is not a whole lot to do or say, so we are just waiting it out and seeing how it plays out.”