Austin Reaves sat on the podium after the game, his eyes finally fell to the table to look at the statistics sheet, a look of surprise when he saw how long Troy Brown Jr. had played for the Lakers in their victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon.
“He played 41 minutes? Jesus!” said Reaves.
In fact, Brown played 41 minutes and 11 seconds, the most of anyone in the game.
He showed his all-around play during that time, scoring 14 points on five-for-10 shooting, four of seven on three-pointers, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out two assists.
He also did his part on defense, sometimes defending Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry when caught making a substitution, Draymond Green, or any other player the Lakers asked him to guard.
“Honestly, I didn’t realize I had played that many minutes,” said Brown. “I had no idea. With the rotations, of course, I thought I’d come out and then go back in, but I wasn’t looking at stats sheets. Honestly, it’s a blessing to get that opportunity, especially now that we’re playing with time and with us playing for something and being able to be there with those guys and make big moves, I’m thankful for that.”
Brown is back at the start as LeBron James is out with a right foot injury. Brown was benched when Lakers coach Darvin Ham decided to start recently acquired Jarred Vanderbilt along with Anthony Davis and James.
Brown never let that become a problem.
“It’s just great to have a kid like that, the way he shoots the ball, the way he can put it on the ground, he rebounds. It’s great,” said Ham, “he played 41 minutes tonight, but we needed him all 41 tonight The job he did with Klay when he got crossed with different guys earned his weight in gold tonight But it was a pleasure He’s another one just a nice kid to be to deal with. He has been a pleasure to coach this season.”
It was Brown who scored on a layup by cutting to the basket and retrieving Davis’ pass for a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter that the Lakers never let escape.
He then got the defensive rebound on the next play and forced in a three-pointer a few possessions later.
So, Brown said, starting or coming off the bench isn’t something he’s going to let become a problem.
“I think it’s more of a clear head, more of a clear mindset,” Brown said. “It’s not really taking anything personal, trying to be professional and just knowing they have a plan and the coaching staff has a plan and they’re trying to get their stuff together. So for me I just try to come out every night and do what I can do and make sure I’m locked in and give the team what I need from my side.
Dennis Schroder plays through ankle injury
Dennis Schroder plays with a left ankle injury he sustained against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Lakers’ point guard struggles with the injury as he is needed.
Schroder starts as D’Angelo Russell is out with a sprained right ankle.
In Sunday’s game against the Warriors, Schroder played 33:16 and had 11 points and six assists.
“There’s a lot of pressure on him right now,” Davis said. “He is our primary ball handler. We’re missing our two in LeBron and DLo, and guys are trying to pick him up on the full field. But he finds a way to navigate through it. I’m not sure if his ankle is still bothering him, but he’s very strong. He comes out and finishes the OKC game, plays against Minnesota. He knows the stakes, wants to make the playoffs, wants to win anyway, and he goes out and tries.”
Schroder was treated after the game and did everything he could to stay ready.
“Yes, I have had many treatments on my ankle. I feel good now,” he said. “The last game was a little bit… I was thinking about it a little bit. But right now I think I feel good.”
Schroder will be counted to make the attack while Russell and James are offside.
Not only that, Schroder has to play his typical tough defense against some of the best point guards in the NBA.
“I’m just trying to make the right decisions,” Schroder said. “The main thing is that we just structure the attack and we don’t have too many wasted assets and bad shots. I’m just trying to run the attack and get people in position to score. Today was quite a job and AR (Austin Reaves) did a great job too.