Stephen A. Smith says D’Angelo Russell should be ‘ashamed of himself’ for admission he made earlier this week

Orel Dizon
4 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings for the fourth time this season in a game that had postseason implications in the Western Conference. But apparently, point guard D’Angelo Russell didn’t know the consequence of the Lakers succumbing to their in-state rivals.

“I didn’t know what was at stake,” Russell said, seeking clarity from a reporter who was asking him about the game.

That didn’t sit well with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who chastised Russell for his lack of awareness.

“That’s embarrassing,” said Smith. “He should be ashamed of himself. And nobody else gon’ say it. I’m gon’ say it. That is inexcusable. You’re a guard on this team. We know how much of a liability you are on the defensive side of the ball. They rely on your offense. You’re not gonna always have it — I get that.

“It’s not about the points. It’s not about the lack of offensive production in those two games. It’s about the fact that you sat up there in front of a microphone with the cameras rollin’ and talkin’ about you didn’t know what was at stake.”

According to the ESPN analyst, Russell should have been more cognizant of L.A.’s situation. With the squad gunning for a spot in the playoffs, it might be better off avoiding the No. 9 or No. 10 seed after the regular season because that would mean having to win twice in the play-in tournament to grab the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Lakers followed up their 120-107 loss to Sacramento with a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, pushing them down to 10th place in the West. They are now 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks and 3.5 games behind the sixth seed, which would give them an outright playoff berth if they were to grab it.

A piece of good news for the Purple and Gold is that the team has one of the nine easiest remaining schedules in the NBA. But it’s also worth noting that the two teams directly ahead of the Lakers in the standings (Golden State and Dallas) have it even easier for the remainder of the regular season.

Los Angeles had plenty of opportunities to defeat the Warriors on Saturday. However, losing Anthony Davis in the first quarter sank its defense.

Russell had a good showing against his former team, scoring 23 points and dishing out 13 assists. It was a far cry from his dismal performance against the Kings, where he put up just six points, snapping his streak of 16 consecutive contests scoring in double digits.

Sadly, his Saturday performance and that of LeBron James (40 points, eight rebounds and nine assists) weren’t enough to lift the Lakers over the Warriors.

Los Angeles has three games remaining in its four-game home stand before embarking on a six-game road trip. Hopefully, the team can exceed expectations in the regular season’s home stretch in order to get a favorable seed once the postseason comes.

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Orel is excited about the prospect of “Showtime Lakers” making a comeback, thanks to the presence of the King and the arrival of the Brow.