In his first game against the Boston Celtics, rookie D’Angelo Russell finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.
While Kobe Bryant made a dagger three-pointer to seal the 112-104 victory, the play of Russell helped the Lakers lead by double figures for most of the game.
Although this was Kobe’s final game in Boston, it was the first of many for Russell. Despite both teams in their rebuilding process, Russell says the rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics will never die, via Lakers.com:
D'Angelo Russell: "We know that the rivalry still stands, even though the Mamba is retiring. That rivalry's never gonna die."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 31, 2015
With Kobe retiring at the end of his 20th season, the Lakers and Celtics rivalry enters a new era. While the Celtics are looking for their next superstar, the Lakers hope their young core of Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson can lead them back to the NBA Finals.
To speed up the rebuilding process, the young core has shown flashes of their potential in hopes of enticing future free agents to come to Los Angeles. Since the Lakers are headed to the lottery for the third consecutive season, most are hoping player development becomes the main priority for head coach Byron Scott.
With a win to end 2015, the Lakers are back at Staples Center to host the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 1. In a matchup of two of the worst teams in the entire league, the Sixers will own the Lakers 2016 first round draft pick if it does not land in the top-three as a result of the Steve Nash trade in 2012.