Russell leads the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 123-122 in the 2023-2024 NBA regular season at Arena in Los Angeles, California, on Monday night.

D’Angelo Russell was the hero of the game. 먹튀검증 Russell put on a one-man show, scoring 44 points and dishing out nine assists.

Russell got off to a hot start in the first half, scoring 16 points on a string of three-pointers, but it was in the fourth quarter that he really came alive.

Milwaukee fought back with an offense centered around Yanis Adetokunbo and Damian Lillard. The momentum could have easily swung in Milwaukee’s favor.

Russell stepped up in the clutch. He kept Milwaukee in a one-possession game, closing the gap with three-pointers and mid-range scoring whenever they tried to pull away. Eventually, the Lakers got their chance.

With 20 seconds left in regulation, Lillard missed a three-pointer and Milwaukee led by one, 122-121, the Pacers had an offensive opportunity. Once again, it was Russell who came up big. Russell guarded Lillard, drove off the dribble, and hit a floater from midrange to make it 123-122.

From there, Milwaukee’s final possession ended in a missed shot, and the Lakers held on for the thrilling win.

The Lakers were without LeBron James against Milwaukee, and it was a valuable win in a difficult situation.

The Lakers are in a tight Western Conference race, and every win is precious. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Russell single-handedly made the difference.

The good news for the Lakers is that Russell’s performance wasn’t the end of the story.

Russell struggled mightily early in the season. In 13 games in December, he averaged just 10.2 points and 5.4 assists. As Russell struggled, the Lakers’ performance and record plummeted.

Head coach Darvin Hamm relegated Russell to the bench in a last-ditch effort, but the response was anything but positive, with reports suggesting that the team’s atmosphere became even more toxic.

Fortunately, Russell rebounded in January. He averaged 22.7 points and six assists in 13 games in January, and the Lakers turned things around.

In February, he averaged 20.2 points and 7.5 assists in 11 games, and the Lakers went 9-2.

Then in March, he exploded, averaging 24.2 points and 4.5 assists.

Russell’s importance to the Lakers is by no means small. The Lakers are a James and Anthony Davis team, but they need role players to support them.

Especially at the guard position, they need someone to take some of the ball-handling load off of James. Austin Reeves has been that player all season. Reeves did a great job, but he was overwhelmed.

Once Russell came into the picture, the pressure was off of Reeves, and the Lakers’ offense became much smoother. This is evidenced by their 123-point win over Milwaukee on Sunday, despite James’ absence.

The Lakers currently sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 35-30 record. They’re just three games out of the sixth-place Phoenix Suns, who are directly in the playoffs. It’s a gap that’s within reach.

For that to happen, Russell will need to keep up his current form. Can Russell and the Lakers turn things around?