LOS ANGELES—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.
The Lakers had to overcome massive outbursts from 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.
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. This organization has too much pride and a proud legacy to resort to such poor sportsmanship. Its not in the Lakers DNA!
Postgame, forward Julius Randle explained, “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.