On Sunday, April 9, the Staples Center was rocking like it was 1999. And for good reason; Laker point guard D’Angelo Russell had just rattled in a 3-point shot at the buzzer to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-109. The crowd went nuts, and the story was straight out of a Hollywood film.
Earlier that day Russel’s grandmother passed away and he was scheduled to not even play. But on the way to the game, he asked Coach Luke Walton if he could play. And to win the game as time expired was indeed a fitting tribute to the woman he loved so much. Minnesota appeared to have the game in hand late in the fourth quarter, but Larry Nance Jr. blocked Ricky Rubio’s layup attempt, setting the stage for D’Angelo’s late game heroics.
“Honestly, I knew that’s what my grandma would have wanted,” Russell said of his decision to play. “My dad, my brothers — everybody wanted me to play. I wanted to get away from basketball. I didn’t want to express myself through basketball, but that’s the only option I kind of had, so I tried to take advantage of it.”
The Lakers have won four in a row, and refuse to tank the rest of the season, even if it costs the Purple and Gold a top-three pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The Lakers have ceded the second-worst record in the NBA to the Phoenix Suns. Consequentially, Los Angeles only has a 50/50 chance of retaining their first round pick in this years draft. If the Lakers end up with a draft pick outside of the top three then it will be sent to the Philadelphia 76ers due to a previous trade.
This organization has too much pride and a proud legacy to resort to such poor sportsmanship. Its not in the Lakers DNA! The Lakers resolve was pushed to the limit, and the defense allowed the Timberwolves to use the lane as their personal tarmac. Including massive outbursts from Karl Anthony Towns, who had 40 points on 17 of 22 shooting from the floor and grabbed 21 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins, who scored 41 points, to hand Minnesota its fourth straight defeat. This wave of momentum is far more encouraging, and uplifting than anxiously waiting to see which ping pong ball determines their draft pick.
Post game DTLA Weekly spoke with Forward Jules Randle. “We gotta keep battling, no matter what.” In the scrum that resulted the glorious final possession, Randle recovered the loose ball and passed to Russell for the shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
And then it was over. But for two or three minutes the Staple Center sounded and rocked as if the purple and gold had won the Championship.
Kings Fire Head Coach And GM
The Los Angeles Kings are doing spring cleaning after their disappointing season, firing Head Coach Darryl Sutter and General Manager Dean Lombardi on Tuesday, April 11th. Sutter and Lombardi helped build the Kings, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.
The move is as chilly and harsh as the ice which the Kings skate on; Sutter became Head Coach midway of the 2011-2012 season and led them to the title in his first season. The team finished the 2017 season with a 39-35-8 record.
The team has appointed Luc Robitaille as the team’s new president and Rob Blake as the new general manager and vice president. Both Robitaille and Blake are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame and former King’s captains.