After losing eight consecutive games, D’Angelo Russell exploded for 39 points as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 107-101 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. With Russell playing well since being inserted back into the starting lineup by head coach Byron Scott, the rookie point guard looks to build on his career-high night.
For much of the season, Julius Randle has established himself as a walking double-double. Despite coming off the bench for 21 games, Randle is among the league leaders with 25 double-doubles in only his sophomore season.
After Russell’s performance, Randle spoke about his teammate’s career-high night and how clutch he was as the Nets cut the deficit down to one point late in the game according to Bob Garcia of Sports Out West:
Julius Randle on D’Angelo Russell: “He was amazing. He made some huge shots down the stretch. Caught fire in the 2nd qtr.” #Lakers
— Bob Garcia IV (@bgarciaivsports) March 2, 2016
As Jahlil Okafor (Philadelphia 76ers) and Kristaps Porzingis (New York Knicks) played well at the start of their rookie seasons, Russell was still figuring out his game and received criticism from some media members and fans. However, the second overall pick out of Ohio State remained confident under the circumstances and has taken advantage of his opportunity since being named a starter again.
With 20 games remaining in the season, it will be interesting to see if Russell is able to build on his performance against the Nets. In the past five games, Russell is averaging 21.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 32.2 minutes.
As the young core continues to show their potential on the court, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers are able to land two big name free agents as they are projected to have $65 million in cap space.