The Los Angeles Lakers looked set to lose a game that would’ve given them a chance to tie the Phoenix Suns (with a little luck) for the second-worst record in the NBA, which would’ve given them about five percent better odds to keep their top-three protected lottery pick.
At least, that’s how things appeared until D’Angelo Russell gave fans the latest reminder of the ice in his veins:
After the game, Russell could only offer credit to one source for the improbable shot:
Russell told us on @SpectrumSN he found out this morning his grandma died. Said he hit that shot for her. Ran up to hug his family.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 10, 2017
It’s probably why his family was the first place he ran afterwards:
According to Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton, Russell wasn’t even originally going to play:
The plan this morning was for Russell not to play. He texted Luke on the way in to tell him he wanted to play. Luke said, "Of course."— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 10, 2017
"I get goosebumps even talking about the way the game ended. How awesome for him on such a tough day," Walton on Russell— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 10, 2017
In addition to being a nice story, this buzzer-beater was the most “Lakers” game winner possible. At the buzzer, bouncing around the rim, there was really no more perfect way for this specific team to win a game this season.