The numbers to come after D’Angelo Russell’s career-high 40-point performance were almost as astounding as the play that preceded them. Not only did Russell become the youngest player in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise to score 40 points in a game, he also became the youngest player to post at least 40 points and six assists in one game with just one or fewer turnovers since LeBron James, according to Will Patterson of Lakers PR and Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.
Fittingly, the last player to have such a game happened to be suiting up across from Russell on Sunday night, and was sufficiently impressed with the Lakers’ young guard.
"He's a special guy. He's a special player. Russell was extremely hot tonight and those guys fed off him,” James said (via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation)
UPDATE: We got Fake News'd. LeBron was apparently talking about Kyrie Irving, who actually liked what he saw from Russell Sunday:
Kyrie continuing on D'Angelo: "I've been playing against him for a few years in the league, and I understand what he means to the Lakers."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 20, 2017
Russell was borderline unbelievable against the Cavaliers, and it’s no surprise James and Irving liked what they saw. Scoring 40 points per game will almost certainly never be the norm for Russell, but given that he got cooking within the flow of the offense, it would appear he may have found a sustainable formula for success going forward.
All stats per NBA.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.