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The front office decided to go ahead and select D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State, a 6’5 combo guard who very quickly became a fan favorite at staples. While D’Angelo averaged 13 his rookie season, he showed glimpses of the superstar they drafted him to be. Winding the clock back to March 1st, 2016, when the Lakers hosted the Brooklyn Nets at Staples. Dloading had arguably the best game of his career to date. Scoring a career-high 39 points and breaking a bunch of records in the process. . He led the Lakers to victory with 2 back to back cold-blooded three-pointers. With just under a minute to go, Dlo isolated on the left corner and pulled up from outside to put the Lakers up 6. When Brooklyn knocked down a trey of their own the following possession, with 30 seconds to go, Dlo sizes up at half court before stepping into and knocking down a deep pull up the dagger, extending the Laker lead back to 6. Which he followed with the iconic ice in my veins celebration.
While everything seemed to be going to plan, it wasn’t until the summer of 2016, when things began to take a turn for the worse. A leaked recording from Russell’s cell phone surfaced. In this recording teammate, Nick Young can be found admitting to cheating numerous times on partner Iggy Azalea. An outrage followed, and Russell quickly became the most hated man in LA. Accused of betraying a brother and even now still can’t distance himself from the label of a snitch. I think this was the beginning of the end of Dloading in LA, he lost a tonne of respect from his peers in the locker room and the trust of his brothers, With new upper management coming into the picture and after minimal improvement his sophomore year. There was a high chance going into the summer of 2017 that Russell had played his last game as a Laker. What didn’t help Dlo’s case either, was the hype surrounding a freshman point guard at UCLA. Who seemed destined to become the Lakers point guard of the future, the Lakers with the 2nd pick in 2017. Decided to invest in a young Lonzo Ball, and anoint him the franchise cornerstone going into the season. While it was suggested that Dlo, could move to the two and the pair could coexist in the backcourt, it wasn’t long before D’Angelo was shipped off to Brooklyn along with Mozgov’s horrible contract. Sacrifice if you will to free up cap for 2018’s pursuit of free agents. A move that worked out in their favor, considering who that free agent turned out to be. The decision to trade him was obviously a huge blow to D’Angelo, the franchise essentially choosing Lonzo Ball over him. Both players missed large parts of last season due to injury, so the first real chance they got to go head to head. Came December 18th at the Barclays arena. Both players came into the game with a chip on their shoulder, matching up against and hoping to get the better of each other. Out the gate, it was Lonzo who looked most up for it. Playing aggressively on both ends and shooting well, knocking down 3 jumpers two of which were three-pointers. Although D’Angelo didn’t let himself get run over, he was active scoring the ball and getting his teammates involved. The game went down to the wire, with just over 2 minutes to go. D’Angelo with Zo guarding him finds a cutter for an easy layup to put the Nets up 6. After some scoreless possessions from both teams, Lonzo forces a miss then makes way up the court, receives the ball a few steps beyond the arc on the left-hand corner. Knocks down a clutch three-pointer with 1.14 to go, Making it a 1 possession game at 108-105. With 30 seconds left in the ball game, still a three-point deficit. Ball in D’Angelo’s hands, Lonzo guarding him. This was dreams are what made of, a screen forces the switch. D’Angelo is the left corner, with 22 seconds to go. Pulls upright in the mouth of a contesting Kuzma, and buries a trifecta. Putting the nets back up 6, game, set match. Ice cold dagger from D’Angelo. Giving his former team the same kinda treatment in nets colors, that he gave Brooklyn at staples all those years ago. Different building, different team, same outcome. Ice in my veins.