The Los Angeles Lakers had one of their famous “Hallway Rivalry” games Friday night against the Clippers. With no Kobe Bryant (due to a sore shoulder) and no Blake Griffin for the Clippers (hand) the usual hype for such a game was rather low.
However, despite not having their leader on the floor in Bryant, the young Lakers managed to keep it competitive and entertaining throughout the first 24 minutes of play and at times during the second half. The youngsters efforts were lead by Julius ‘Don Julio’ Randle, who had a career high 23 points, 14 rebounds, and even threw in a dime.
Although Randle had 6 turnovers, some will say you can live with that due to him being aggressive on O, and being (essentially) a rookie. Julius Randle made some impressive plays, made some good reads, and honestly just finished some hoops around the basket that haven’t been falling much for him this year. Here we’re going to look at some impressive, inspiring plays by the sophomore forward .
Here, Randle reads the defense nicely when given the pass. He sees the smaller defender in front of him in Mbah a Moute, doesn’t settle for a mid-range jumper (which he’s been hitting), then proceeds to back Mbah a Moute down. What happens next is a great sign from Randle. Instead of having his usual tunnel vision when attempting to create, he notices DeAndre Jordan slightly flash to help Mbah a Moute, then quickly kicks it to Roy for a good look at a midrange jumper, one that Roy knocked down.
On this play Julius does a great job of flat out hustling down the floor and using his athleticism. He grabs the rebound on one end, throws the outlet pass, and proceeds to beat DeAndre Jordan down the floor. When Randle notices this, he immediately slips to the basket, which Lou Williams saw and threw Randle a lob. Randle then does a great job of finish the bucket while in the air, eliminating the opportunity for DAJ to get back and potentially block the shot.
One of the more inspiring plays of the night by Randle, to say the least. His relentless attitude, determination, the fact that he never gives up on a rebound, and treats every shot like a miss is impressive. Randle started to work for position immediately when Lou started his drive, and it paid off. Randle boxed out, fought for position, and over powered three Clippers players (while getting fouled) for 2 rebounds on this possession. Randle then showed a nice touch off the glass when finally converting the basket. The flex after the bucket was a fitting celebration after showing some serious muscle.
This may seem like your basic elbow jumper and most wouldn’t consider it a huge deal, but Randle making and taking this shot with confidence is a huge step in the right direction. Randle even acknowledged this in his post game interview. “ I just let it come to me. I didn’t force anything out there. Took the shot that was avaliable. I was confident in what I was doing out there,” said Randle.
If Julius can consistently hit an elbow jumper and beyond, it will create so many more opportunities for him and others on the offensive end, which is why him making shots like these are key. A confident Julius Randle is a great Julius Randle.
Here, Randle receives the Russell pass, sees the defense isn’t in proper position, and attacks immediately. Having Randle mix it up a bit with some jumpers, then some drives is a sign of growth, development, confidence, and IQ of course. Randle gives it one hard dribble with the right hand, absorbs the contact by the defender, and managed to throw up a soft floater over him. This is something earlier in the year Randle wouldn’t even attempt.
Although this is an uncontested garbage time bucket, seeing Randle make this shot is very inspiring. As I noted earlier, Randle works day in and day out on his jumper and the rise in confidence when it comes to that jumper is key when it comes to his performance.
Julius Randle can be a very versatile and effective basketball player, as you can see above. His strength and quickness allow him to go to the basket with ease. He’s shown the ability to hit a elbow jumper with slight consistency as of late. Also, he has the ability to shoot the deep ball, as he’s been showing us recently.
Julius Randle has the potential to score from all areas on the floor, and if his confidence continues to build, and his role continues to increase, these 23 point, 14 rebound games will be a lot more frequent.