California Sports

Lebron James praises teammate Stanley Johnson as Lakers defeat Jazz 101-95

Stanley Johnson, who signed a 10-day deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, became the highlighted figure after saving the Lakers against the Utah Jazz on Monday, along with several other unexpected players.

It was neither LeBron James nor Russell Westbrook, but Johnson ended up taking charge and secured the 101-95 win for Los Angeles.

Monk, THT step up, show their capabilities

Johnson, undrafted rookie Austin Reaves, former lottery pick Malik Monk, and third-year pro Talen Horton-Tucker were the ones who collectively scored 44 of the Lakers’ 101 points. Moreover, in the 15 minutes, the four players were on the court together with James, they managed to help the Lakers outscore the Jazz by 18 points. They were also the four youngest players to be on the court for Los Angeles that day.

“I just wanted to bring some energy to the game,” Johnson said. “I feel like I finally got a deflection and I finally got a loose ball and finally got some movement and assists and stuff like that. Once the energy gets into the game you’re kind of just like, ‘I’m playing with LeBron and Russ, it’s easy to play with them.’ So it’s like, I just want to bring some energy. If I bring some energy, everything’s gonna be fine.”

The age difference translated well on the glass. Offensive rebounds by Reaves and Johnson in the fourth quarter, for example, kept the Jazz at arm’s length and helped the Lakers hit the final blow.

However, Johnson was truly the hero of the story as he scored on all four occasions he went at three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. The points he scored were the fuel that rekindled the Lakers’ flame.

“I think if you watch basketball the last couple years, some teams have had success attacking him with smaller guys off the bounce,” Johnson explained.

James served mainly as Johnson’s screener through the four occasions. The play calls were his Idea. “LeBron is a smart player,” Johnson joked. “So [when he says], ‘Do this,’ OK, I’ll do it. ‘Do this.’ OK, I’ll do it, too.

“That’s just as simple as that went. He saw something.”

“I know the types of players I like to play with,” James said after the win.

“Yeah, people forget that he was a top-10 pick in our league and he’s only 25 years old,” James said about Johnson, who was drafted eighth overall by Detroit in 2015. “He’s a guy that’s hungry and wants to go out and prove that he belongs in the NBA and trying to stick here to stay for as long as he can.”

On limited time sale

Johnson plays for the Lakers on a 10-day contract. He is in a race to keep contributing for the remainder of the contract if he truly wishes to be re-signed for the rest of the season. Horton-Tucker and Monk, meanwhile, are currently fighting for minutes in a backcourt.

This will only get even more crowded as Kendrick Nunn is expected to return soon. Horton-Tucker, however, will likely be traded soon. He is currently the fourth-highest-paid player on the team.

Stanley Johnson (basketball)

Stanley Herbert Johnson Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . (wikipedia)

LeBron James

LeBron Raymone James Sr. is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . Nicknamed “King James”, (wikipedia)