The Los Angeles Lakers came up short against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, despite being ahead by as many as 17 points in the first half. Head coach Luke Walton pulled the starters early in the third due to their lack of transition defense to send a message about how serious they are about defense.
Rookie Kyle Kuzma recorded his first double-double of his career with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Julius Randle had a team-leading 18 points (6-8 shooting). Walton said Randle’s energy level and alertness was up and Lonzo Ball pinpoints what he’s noticed with Randle.
Despite being disappointed in the starting units’ transition defense in the first half, Walton said he was thrilled overall with the rest of the game. Walton gave a lot of minutes to the younger players, and Kyle Kuzma is recognizing how crucial that time if for their growth in the future.
Plus, Lonzo gets a happy birthday tweet from LeBron James and chats about what his reaction was.