LOS ANGELES—D’Angelo Russell nailed the game-winning three pointer at the buzzer to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 110-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves hours after his grandmother passed away.
Russell’s grandmother died earlier in the day, and the mourning point guard planned to sit out the team’s regular season contest Sunday night.
But after consulting with family members, Russell had a change of heart.
“Honestly, I knew that’s what my grandmother would have wanted,” Russell said about playing.
“My dad, my brothers, everybody wanted me to play. I wanted to get away from basketball. I didn’t want to express myself through basketball, but that’s the only option I had. I tried to take advantage of it.”
The crowd of 18,900 at Staples Center arena exploded into a frenzy when Russell hit his three-pointer at the horn.
“We did talk this morning and originally he wasn’t going to play,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Then he texted me on the way to the arena saying he wanted to play. I said, ‘Of course.’”
Russell’s game-winner allowed the Lakers (25-55) to win four in a row for the first time in four seasons.
It also offset a 41-point performance by Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins and 40-point game for Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns also had 21 rebounds.