The Los Angeles Lakers had a grueling loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, losing 123-122 in the first OT game of the season. Overall, it was a good game for the young guys, though. D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle both had career games and played the entire fourth quarter. Russell was the team’s leading scorer with 23(!) points and he played an amazing game off of the bench. The second-leading scorer for the Lakers was Julius Randle.
This brings up some interesting narratives.
It would appear after the two games that Russell and Randle were benched that they are playing better. Some would say that getting benched gave them extra motivation, but the answer is simpler than that. They aren’t being forced to give the ball to Kobe. Like Russell said in his post game interview after the Raptors loss on Monday, there’s more ball movement with the second group of guys. Not playing with Kobe allows him to create better looks for himself and for the rest of the team.
Now, benching those guys was probably a mistake. Byron Scott can simply just stagger the rotation. As we all know though, Byron is rather incompetent as a head coach. His rotations night in and night out make fans sick.
Looking back on the preview we posted from earlier today, Byron actually may have listened! He played the kids more minutes than we expected, both getting more than 30 a piece. He didn’t play Tarik Black, but Robert Sacre played like the GOAT we all knew he was. He finished with 9 points on 4-5 shooting and actually fouled out of the game. Also, there was no facilitator Kobe tonight, and he did not shoot 50% from the floor. So that was bad. But, the young guys kept it close, and that made it all worthwhile.
Anyway, we saw some good positives out of the game tonight, and I’m happy even in defeat. Until, of course, the post game quotes come out.