‘A spark plug’: Why Wenyen Gabriel had massive impression for Lakers

In the Lakers’ seek for somebody to offer vitality in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, they discovered it with Wenyen Gabriel.

And the Lakers rode with Gabriel within the all-important fourth quarter, enjoying him alongside Anthony Davis, counting on the backup heart as a defender and rebounder.

Gabriel did the job, enjoying all however one second within the fourth quarter, 23:16 total, whereas amassing 11 rebounds to go along with 9 factors.

It was “just his energy” that allowed Lakers coach Darvin Ham to belief Gabriel.

“He has a great, great nose for the ball,” Ham stated. “[He had] 11 rebounds. He tries to defend, tries to protect the rim. … He’s just a spark plug, another one of our spark plugs. His size, his ability to run up and down the floor, clean up loose balls, and get offensive rebounds and putbacks. Really defends well. And he showed all of that tonight. That’s why we stayed with him.”

For all that he did nicely, serving to to double crew harmful Dallas guard Kyrie Irving, it was a painful evening for Gabriel and the Lakers, who misplaced the sport on a last-second three-pointer by Maxi Kleber.

“This one hurts, bro, for real,” Gabriel stated. “Tired of losing these close games.”

Gabriel entered with 4:16 to play within the third quarter and performed till the ultimate buzzer, except one momentary substitution and fast reentry, his play infectious and galvanizing.

Gabriel had 4 rebounds within the fourth quarter, all offensive.

When Irving received the ball late within the recreation, Gabriel was serving to Dennis Schroder on protection, utilizing his lengthy arms and sliding his 6-9 physique to maintain the Dallas star from getting off extra photographs.

Read also  Serena Williams, Brittney Griner honored at NAACP Image Awards

“That’s part of one of the things with my skill set, is that mobility to do that with a player like Kyrie or I’m guarding a big, to be able to double, kind of slide and try to get the ball out of his hands and that was something that was my job,” Gabriel stated. “And then when my guy goes help, go get offensive rebounds and that’s another thing that I’ve been able to bring value to the team.

“And just playing with a lot of energy and playing with a higher IQ and understanding how to play with different players. Like today, today was my first time playing with AD in a while and I think those minutes looked good and hopefully later down the line we get more opportunities for that as well.”

Free-throw woes

The Lakers’ poor free-throw capturing damage them in a foul method. They received to the road greater than sufficient, capturing 31 free throws.

But they made simply 19, or 61.3%.

That received’t get it finished. It didn’t get it finished.

The Lakers shot 64.3% from the free-throw line within the fourth quarter, when the sport was there for them to shut out.

“And we did the job we wanted,” Ham stated. “We seek out to do every game, and that’s to win the free-throw line. We got 31 attempts but you got to make more than 19. We make our free throws, we’re probably not having this conversation.”

Davis made one among two free throws with 6.7 seconds left, giving the Lakers a two-point lead however leaving the door open for Kleber to make a buzzer-beating three-pointer for the Dallas win over a surprised Lakers crew.

“I shot a little right. We would have been up three after that point,” Davis stated. “Still kind of processing it. I mean, you think about it, up three, even if he makes a three, overtime. … I mean, a tough loss.”