After another fourth quarter collapse, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their 10th loss of the season to the Toronto Raptors. While the focus was on Kobe Bryant playing 37 minutes at this stage of his career, D’Angelo Russell had a career-high night with 17 points.
For the first time this season, Russell was aggressive throughout the game and had an opportunity to play major minutes. Along with the 17 points, the rookie point guard also had five rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Following the 102-91 loss to the Raptors, Russell was asked about his assertiveness and what he is trying to accomplish on the court according to Lakers.com:
“I just tried to be more assertive. [I] tried to be everywhere. Ball-seeker, if I can creep in and get some steals and get early transition buckets and try to get in there and rebound and do the same, and it worked out well.”
In the first 12 games of the season, Russell has experienced a lot of growing pains. While Russell has shown potential in spurts, head coach Byron Scott has sat him in fourth quarters, which has created some controversy.
With the Lakers likely not making the playoffs this season, the focus should be on the development of Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. While Clarkson has continued where he left off last season, Russell and Randle are still adjusting their games to the NBA.
In 12 games, Russell is averaging 10.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 25.5 minutes.