Julius Randle wasn’t just dominant against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was outright historic as it pertains to Los Angeles Lakers history. Randle set a career high with 36 points, adding 14 rebounds and seven assists in the 127-113 victory.
As such, Randle became the first Lakers player with at least 30 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in a single game since Kobe Bryant had 36-14-8 on March 23, 2008. Despite his prolific stat line, Bryant and the Lakers fell, 115-111, to the Golden State Warriors that night.
Other Lakers since the 1979-80 season to produce such statistics in a single game are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Vlade Divac and Shaquille O’Neal.
The standout performance was another in what’s been an impressive season from Randle. He’s overcome frustration and disappointment that stemmed from a brief period in which he was brought off the bench, and has arguably been the Lakers’ best player.
ESPN’s broadcast caught Lakers head coach Luke Walton imploring Randle and touting him as the best one-on-one defender in the NBA. Randle said postgame he welcomed the message and accepted the challenge of guarding LeBron James, whom Randle referred to as the best player in the league.
As Randle heads toward a strong finish to the season, it sets him up for a summer in which he should receive a lucrative long-term contract. Be it from L.A., who have the right to match any offer sheet, or another team.