WATCH: Lakers' D'Angelo Russell drops a career-high 40 points against Cavs
D’Angelo Russell had lost his starting spot in recent days, but on Sunday night Luke Walton reinserted the young point guard into the starting lineup, and it proved to be a wise decision. Russell went off for his first career 40-point game, setting a new career high, and becoming the youngest Laker to ever drop 40 in a regular- season game — a pretty remarkable feat for such a storied franchise.
Russell poured in 21 of his 40 points from behind the arc, with his seven 3-pointers being one shy of his career-high. It was a highly efficient performance as well, as Russell — who is a 40 percent shooter from the field for his career — went 14 for 22 from the field.
Fortunately for the Lakers, Russell’s performance wasn’t enough, as Cleveland came back for a 125-120 victory. Already eliminated from the playoffs, the Lakers would be best served to lose as much as possible in order to increase their chances in the lottery. They currently have the second-worst record in the league, at 20-50, just slightly worse than the Suns, who sit at 22-48.
And in this lottery, the better odds are much more important for the Lakers than normal; they would keep their first-round pick this year only if it is in the top three. If it’s outside the top three, the Sixers will receive the pick.