The days leading up to the trade deadline were disappointing to say the least, Magic Johnson appeared to place every young asset on the table for an Anthony Davis trade that never happened. Reports even suggested that New Orleans’ General Manager, Dell Demps, did not even return Magic’s calls or counter any of the Lakers’ trade offers. Consequently, publically broadcasting the front office’s intentions to operate in desperation to acquire a second star.
Whilst losing Svi Mykhailiuk was hard to take, the addition of sharpshooter Reggie Bullock was understandable. However, the acquisition of Mike Muscala from the Clippers was one that left fans scratching their heads. Especially when the promising Ivica Zubac was one of two players going the other way, with Michael Beasley being the other.
With the rumours swirling leading up to the deadline, the chemistry of the team, especially throughout the young core, dropped dramatically. This led to an embarrassing 42-point blowout at the hands of the Indiana Pacers who were without their star, Victor Oladipo. Up next, was the small task of taking on fierce rivals the Boston Celtics on the road. With the Lakers in turmoil, expectations were low and understandably so. Well, we couldn’t have been any more wrong.
Ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo hit a buzzer-beater 20-foot jumper to lift the Lakers past the Celtics at the TD Garden, 129-128. It doesn’t get much better than that! As the ball pinged around in the dying moments, Rondo was in the right place at the right time to sink the team that he won an NBA championship with 11-years prior.
The 32-year-old veteran point guard was pivotal to the Lakers turning over an 18-point deficit, hitting three from beyond the arc and dishing out 10 assists. LeBron James had himself a 28 point triple-double and Kyle Kuzma added 25 points, dropping 5 three-pointers. On a night where the Lakers set a franchise record for triples made, with 22.
Despite being just 7-18 from the free-throw line, the Lakers had an impressive shooting night converting 51.5% of their field goals and 53.7% from three. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope put in a key performance to spur the Lakers to victory, with 17 points and 5 treys. Whilst JaVale McGee provided a presence in the paint recording 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Players throughout the entire available roster dug in, committing just 8 turnovers, and played a part in what was a historic night in enemy territory. Could this be the turning point in the season? We hope so!