“I knew that’s what my grandma would have wanted."
Early Sunday morning D'Angelo Russell's grandmother passed away and although he had considered sitting out the Lakers' Sunday night game against the Wolves, he decided to play because that's what his grandma would've wanted.
And he ended up hitting the game-winner, thanks to a fortunate bounce that came high off the rim and fell through the net as time expired.
After the game, Russell revealed to reporters that he and his family had been mourning the loss of his grandma throughout the day.
“I knew that’s what my grandma would have wanted. My dad, brothers, and everyone wanted me to play. I wanted to get away from basketball. I didn’t want to express myself through basketball but it was the only option I had and I tried to take advantage of it.”
"I just wanted to win," said Russell, who had 16 points. "Win the game, and winning shot, it's just God putting the cherry on top. The win would have been good enough."
"You could tell he was hurting," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "I could tell it was painful for him, and it wasn't easy to talk about, but you could see how much love he had for her when he was speaking about it, which was kind of awesome to see."
Russell's game-winning shot and celebration with his family in the crowd was an awesome moment for the second year player and his family, but it also put the Lakers one step closer to potentially losing their draft pick.
With last night's win, the Lakers now have the third-worst record in the NBA, one game ahead of Phoenix in the win column, which leaves them with just under a 50/50 chance to retain their top-3 selection in the lottery. If the Lakers' draft pick falls outside the top-3, they lose it to the Sixers AND Orlando would receive their 2019 first-round pick, stemming from the Dwight Howard trade.
Check out footage from D'Angelo's emotional game-winner below.