Austin Reaves seemingly contrasts D’Angelo Russell with Russell Westbrook

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers may be turning their season around, as they won their eighth game in their last 11 tries on Friday with a 122-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

If they are turning things around, the genesis of that revival can be traced back to the Russell Westbrook trade that brought in D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley a month ago. After the win over the Raptors, Lakers guard Austin Reaves seemed to reference an important difference between Westbrook and Russell.

Russell had missed the team’s previous six games with a sprained ankle, but he returned with a vengeance on Friday. He shot 10-of-17 overall and 5-of-8 from 3-point range, giving him 28 points on the night. He really became a thorn in Toronto’s side in the fourth quarter when he got very hot and sparked a comeback from a sizable deficit. He also dished off nine assists and grabbed five rebounds to help L.A.’s cause.

While Russell does like to play fast and create extra transition opportunities, he doesn’t play as frantically as Westbrook often did with the Lakers.

This was a game in which the Lakers’ depth really impressed. Five of their players scored at least 16 points, and their bench was huge, as Rui Hachimura had 16 points, Dennis Schroder scored 23 and Austin Reaves added 18 points.

Los Angeles was able to defeat a tough and athletically gifted Raptors team despite Anthony Davis mustering just eight points on the night. The Raptors have historically been very tough for L.A. to handle, but the Lakers were able to win their first home game against them since 2014.

There definitely appears to be a new, better energy about this Lakers team that seems to be building with each victory since the Westbrook deal.

They will host a very good New York Knicks team on Sunday that recently won nine games in a row before heading out on a quick two-game road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.