Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith balled out for the Lakers on Monday.
The Los Angeles Lakers signed Dion Waiters about a week before the NBA shutdown back in March. Then the team signed J.R. Smith this summer as the former Cleveland Cavaliers continued to roll into town.
Both players are veterans who have had their fair share of off-court issues. Smith wasn’t even on a team this season until the Lakers signed him, and Waiters was without a team for a month after being shipped out of Miami and subsequently cut by the Memphis Grizzlies. Consider Monday afternoon both of their respective comebacks.
Lakers fans rejoiced over Waiters and Smith
Waiters scored 18 points and Smith added 20 of his own in Monday’s win over the Washington Wizards. The reactions on Twitter were fitting as the duo looks to have made the Lakers even better than they were in March.
The duo is known for being fearless and taking any shot given to them, even if there is little to no space to shoot. Yet both are capable of doing much more as well. Waiters iced the game with a great move off the dribble.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Dwight Howard all sat out, making it the Dion and J.R. show. That explains why both led the team in minutes and also scoring. They were given a chance to shine and proved why they belong.
The crazy thing is that both Waiters and Smith were essentially given up on by their former teams. The Cavaliers moved on from Smith unceremoniously and the Heat finally traded Waiters after one too many missteps.
Now we will all be curious to see how much playing time the pair gets once the games start counting. The Lakers do have a 5.5-game lead in the Western Conference with eight games to play, so it is possible they clinch early and allow the reserves to get more playing time before the postseason.
Lakers fans surely had an amazing time watching Waiters and Smith play their best basketball against the Wizards.
The hope now is both can keep it going in more limited minutes and also against better competition. A combined 38 points is still nothing to scoff at and the Lakers are one team to actually improve at a time when no games were being played.