It wasn't long ago when whether Max Christie would even see the floor was a question.
He had four consecutive DNPs in mid-December and a handful of games where he was subbed in during garbage time or only got some run if a key player was out due to injury.
He's averaging 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in his 21.8 minutes during this span. He’s impressed defensively, handling his assignments and taking care of the ball during the moments he's running the offense with just six turnovers.
On Tuesday's matchup versus the Raptors, with the game hanging in the balance, the Lakers went with Christie as part of the closing lineups after Cam Reddish went down.
Max to close is a choice. And I’m with it.— Aaron Larsuel (@AaronLarsuel) January 10, 2024
He finished the game strong, grabbing a board and splitting a pair of free throws. Anthony Davis was the clear star and the main reason the team won, but Christie made winning plays.
Postgame, Christie shared what it was like being out there when the game was on the line.
"It felt good," Christie said. "I haven't been in that scenario in a little while…But I hadn't been in at the end of the game in a tight game in a while. So, it felt good to sort of feel that adrenaline. I had that big offensive rebound, made one of the two free throws. It felt good to be out there when it mattered most. It felt good to just be out there. I felt the adrenaline and sort of leaned into it and had a good time, obviously, winning the game."
If Christie continues to perform, he'll be in the rotation regardless of who is or isn't available. At 20 years old, he's playing well beyond his years. As long as he continues to be a sponge, absorbing experience from his vets and getting minutes in key games, he will continue being a staple in the rotation and a significant player in Los Angeles, not just this season but for years to come.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.