Los Angeles Lakers show growth in 101-91 win over Kings
Russell became frustrated his rookie season over losing his starting spot and sitting out at the end of games under Byron Scott’s more stern and less innovative approach. After feeling empowered with his role and growth under Lakers coach Luke Walton, Russell did not close out the game.He may have gone 7 of 12 from the field. But he also had five of the Lakers’ 21 turnovers. Those turnovers happened more times than Russell collected an assist (one). So after Jordan Clarkson was called for traveling with the game tied at 82 with 5:34 left, Walton decided not to substitute him for Russell. Instead, Walton chose Young.That unit, including Brandon Ingram, Williams, Randle and Mozgov went on a 12-7 run that featured plenty of theatrics. Young grabbed a defensive rebound that set up an open look for Ingram. Williams made a 3-pointer. After grabbing a rebound, Young converted a layup. He took a 25-foot 3-pointer that literally bounced Young’s way into the basket for a 92-82 lead with 3:35 left. “You have a scorer and have guys willing to make extra passes and cut hard, scorers will get good opportunities,” Walton said. “It’s more of a credit to how he’s moving without the ball and his teammates willing to pass the ball. We’re trying to encourage that style of play.”The Lakers also are encouraging Young to defend. He raised eyebrows when he defended Sacramento guard Arron Afflalo on one play in the post and forced him to travel. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “He’s better defensively than offensively with his awareness,” Walton said. “Offensively he can score the heck out of the ball. He’s been great for us. But he gets lost out there on some play calls. Defensively he’s been in and tagging cutters and has been mixing it up with the bigs on the rebounding and all the things we’ve asked our guys to do. He’s been doing it consistently.”The Lakers defended the Kings enough to hold them to fewer than 100 points.Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins scored 28 points on 10 of 25 shooting by remaining dangerous both inside and from 3-point range (3 of 6). Rudy Gay (15 points) and Ty Lawson (11) also cracked double figures. The Kings scored 27 points off of the Lakers’ 21 turnovers. Yet, the Lakers still prevailed by ensuring team play, making key shots and adjusting to their roles. All of which helped the young Lakers grow before everyone’s eyes. SACRAMENTO >> The Lakers looked fun to watch. They fought double-digit deficits. They featured a balanced offense. They made timely shots. The Lakers also looked painful to watch. They could not defend in the paint and along the perimeter. They could not hold onto the ball. They could not stop Sacramento’s late-game flurry.Yet for all the weaknesses the Lakers might still have with their consistency, they still found a way to close out a 101-91 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday at Golden Center 1. It left the Lakers (5-4) giddy over collecting their second road win. It left the Lakers feeling encouraged that team balance ensured the comeback, including Lou Williams (21 points), D’Angelo Russell (17), Nick Young (16), Julius Randle (15) and Timofey Mozgov (10). It also included an interesting case study of players adjusting to their role without complaint.