The Los Angeles Lakers responded well to their opening night showing on Friday night. The team picked up a 132-130 win over the Phoenix Suns and while Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram led the way, the win would not have happened without Corey Brewer.
After Devin Booker looked mostly unstoppable in the first half, Brewer made it a point to take him out of the game in the second half. He hounded Booker, creating turnovers and tough shots as the Suns struggled with their top scorer being taken out of the game.
Afterwards, Lakers head coach Luke Walton credited Brewer for setting the tone for the team via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Luke Walton said Corey Brewer really set the tone tonight, "energized the entire group."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 21, 2017
Brewer’s stat line (five points, two rebounds, two assists, three steals) may not stand out, but that doesn’t do his performance nearly enough justice. Brewer’s aggression defensively clearly rubbed off on the rest of the team, and suddenly the Lakers were creating steals, deflections, and stops consistently.
Obviously the Lakers’ defense wasn’t great much of the night as they gave up 130 points, but Brewer’s energy really turned things around for the Lakers as they could have folded once Booker got going and the Suns jumped ahead.
Brewer definitely deserves credit for being ready to play after not getting many minutes in the season opener. Luol Deng went from starter to inactive, and Brewer stepped up when Walton called his name.
With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope set to return from his two-game suspension on Sunday, Brewer won’t need to start. He will undoubtedly remain in the rotation however, and Walton knows he can call on the veteran whenever he needs some energy and defense on the floor.