Troy Brown Jr. fulfilling valuable Lakers role with LeBron James injured

Lakers forward Troy Brown Jr., right, drives past Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during the first half of the Lakers’ 113-105 win Sunday at Crypto.com Arena. Brown finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Austin Reaves sat at the podium postgame, his eyes eventually dropping towards the table to look at the stat sheet, a look of amazement when he saw how long Troy Brown Jr. had played for the Lakers during their win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon.

“He played 41 minutes? Jeez!” Reaves said.

To be exact, Brown played 41 minutes and 11 seconds, the most by anyone in the game.

He displayed his all-around game during that time, scoring 14 points on five-for-10 shooting, four for seven on three-pointers, grabbing eight rebounds and handing out two assists.

He did his part on defense, too, defending Klay Thompson at times, Stephen Curry when caught in a switch, Draymond Greenor any other player the Lakers asked him to guard.

“To be honest, I didn’t know I had played that many minutes,” Brown said. “I had no idea. Obviously with the rotations, I thought I was coming out and then going back in, but I wasn’t looking at the stat sheets. It’s a blessing, honestly, just to get that opportunity, especially right now playing with time and with us playing for something and being able to be out there with those guys and make big plays. I’m grateful for it.”

Brown is back starting because LeBron James is out with a right foot injury. Brown had gone to the bench when Lakers coach Darvin Ham decided to start recently acquired Jarred Vanderbilt alongside 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 floor, he rebounds. It’s great,” Ham said, “He played 41 minutes tonight, but we needed him out there all 41 tonight. The job he did on Klay, when he got cross-matched on different guys, he earned his weight in gold tonight. But it’s been a pleasure. He’s another one, just a pleasant kid to be around. He’s been a pleasure to coach this season.”

It was Brown who scored on a layup by cutting to the basket, taking the pass from Davis for a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter that the Lakers never let get away.

He then got the defensive rebound on the next play and drilled a three-pointer a few possessions later.

So, Brown said, starting or coming off the bench is not something he’ll let become an issue.

“I think it’s more with a clear head, more of a clear mindset,” Brown said. “It’s not really taking anything personal, trying to be professional and just know that they have a plan and the coaching staff has a plan and they are trying to put together their stuff. 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 on my end.”

Dennis Schroder plays through an ankle injury

Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is fouled by Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole during the second half Sunday.

Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is fouled by Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole during the second half Sunday. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Dennis Schroder is playing with a left ankle injury that he suffered against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Lakers point guard is gutting though the injury because he is needed.

Schroder is starting because D’Angelo Russell is out because of a right ankle sprain.

In the game against the Warriors on Sunday, Schroder played 33:16 and had 11 points and six assists.

“It’s a lot of pressure on him right now,” Davis said. “He’s our primary ballhandler. We’re missing our two in LeBron and DLo, and guys are trying to pick him up full court. But he’s finding a way to navigate it. I’m not sure if his ankle is still bothering him or not, but he’s very tough. He comes out and finishes the OKC game, plays against Minnesota. He knows the stakes, wants to get to the playoffs, wants to win by any means, and he’s gonna go out there and give it a go.”

Schroder got treatment after the game, doing all he could to stay ready.

“Yeah, I got a lot of treatment on my ankle. I feel good now,” he said. “Last game was a little … was still thinking about it a little bit. But right now, I think I feel in a good place.”

Schroder will be counted on to run the offense while Russell and James are sidelined.

Not only that, Schroder has to play his typical tough defense against some of the best point guards in the NBA.

“I just try to make the right decisions,” Schroder said. “Most important that we just structure the offense and that we don’t have too many wasted possessions and bad shots. I just try to run the offense and put people in position to score. Today was a decent job and AR [Austin Reaves] did a great job of it too.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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