What was their best moment of the season doubled as a turning point for the Los Angeles Lakers as their win against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day was followed by LeBron James and Rajon Rondo missing extended time.
Rondo underwent surgery to repair a ligament in a sprained right ring finger, and went on to miss 14 games while recovering. His absence overlapped with that of James, who needed five weeks to recover from a groin strain.
James’ ledger read 17 games missed before his return, though after playing 40 minutes in an overtime victory against the Clippers, he was held out Saturday night because of soreness. The Lakers went on to fight back from a deficit, only to squander their own lead in a 115-101 loss to the Warriors.
The game quickly became a backstory, however, as reports emerged of several veterans getting involved in a confrontation with head coach Luke Walton. Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson were mentioned as those agitated with playing time and rotations.
Stephenson seemingly caught wind of his name being included, and refuted that he’s in the least bit disgruntled through an Instagram story post.
From Lance… pic.twitter.com/fAMcySnbzg
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) February 3, 2019
Stephenson had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes. While he’s fallen out of the rotation for brief stretches this season, Stephenson has played at least 16 minutes in seven consecutive games.
His role has changed throughout the season, as Stephenson been counted on to help run the offense while Lonzo Ball and Rondo were injured, and in other cases he’s been asked to provide a scoring punch.
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