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Lakers D'Angelo Russell faces scrutiny for behavior on the bench during team's playoff meltdown

D’Angelo Russell had a resurgent regular season, but his postseason has not been very good. The Los Angeles Lakers guard missed 13 of his final 16 shot attempts during a Game 1 defeat to the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers dropped Game 2 in Denver, before returning to Los Angeles for Game 3 of the first-round series, which did not go the Lakers’ way either.

In the game’s final minutes, Russell was spotted sitting sideways on the bench late in the game as his Lakers teammates huddled to strategize a comeback. Los Angeles lost 112-105 and is on the brink of elimination.

It remains unclear if Russell intended to opt out of the team huddle. He had another frustrating game, missing all seven of his shots from the field and finishing the night with zero points.


Fans inside the Lakers’ arena began to voice their displeasure with Russell’s performance as the game progressed, and he was eventually benched.


Although the 28-year-old guard struggled on the offensive end, he grabbed three rebounds and blocked a shot.

D'Angelo Russell warms up before a game

Russell’s recent struggles brought back memories of his offensive issues against the Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference finals. But the Lakers still appear to believe in the All-Star point guard.

“D-Lo is a huge reason why we’re here in the first place,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said earlier this week after the Lakers’ Game 1 loss. “I’m not going to bail out on my player just because he’s missing the shots that he normally makes. Same shots were going in against New Orleans [in the play-in tournament] and other games that he’s played in to help us get to this point. So, it just wasn’t his night.”

D'Angelo Russell during a Lakers game

The Lakers have dropped seven consecutive playoff games to the Nuggets.

The Lakers host two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets for Game 4 Saturday.

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