Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard D’Angelo Russell decided to blow up, and it helped his team snap their eight-game losing streak, according to Fox Sports. With Kobe Bryant sidelined, Russell decided to take 21 shots. The former Ohio State Buckeyes star hit 14 of those shots, which is much better than 50 percent. Those 39 points were good enough to beat the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 107 to 101.
Before the game against the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant, who is walking away from the NBA after this season, would not be playing in the game because of a sore right shoulder. Rookie Anthony Brown, a second-round selection, was the one that chosen to replace Bryant as the starting small forward, but it was D’Angelo Russell who decided to replace Kobe as the star of the Lakers.
With Lou Williams back on the bench where he is most effective, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers got a good glimpse of their future. Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell were the starting back court in the game against the Brooklyn Nets. Lakers fans are hoping that the production was something that they will see for years to come. Combined, Clarkson and Russell scored 55 points, pulled down 13 rebounds, and dished out ten assists.
D’Angelo Russell chose a very good night to channel his inner Stephen Curry. Not a lot of NBA players can make eight three-point shots on a dozen attempts. That alone is good for 24 points, so anything else that you contribute is just a bonus. Russell only threw out three assists against the Brooklyn Nets, but that’s not a big deal because his role was playing off the ball as opposed to being the play maker that set up his teammates.
Confidence has never been an issue for D’Angelo Russell. Even when the rookie was benched by Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott, he still maintained that he could easily be one of the best players in the NBA. That’s one of the reasons why Scott has been trying his best to humble Russell. In entertaining fashion, Russell yelled out to the audience that he had ice in his veins after he easily nailed his eighth three point shot of the evening.
Aside from the 39-point explosion, which is the most a rookie in the NBA has scored this season, D’Angelo Russell has scored at least 22 points in the previous three games. While that may be a great thing for Los Angeles Lakers fans, it should become a headache for Byron Scott. He has long been wanting Russell to develop into a play maker that makes his teammates better, but it is looking more and more like D’Angelo would be best utilized like what the Philadelphia 76ers did with Allen Iverson.
Overshadowed by the great game that D’Angelo Russell had was the good game from Julius Randle, the second-year forward who was also benched by Byron Scott earlier in the season. The former Kentucky Wildcats star chipped in with 14 points and 13 rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets. While he’s capable of scoring more than that, this type of production is nothing new to someone as talented as Randle, who has been compared favorably to former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom.
When you’re sitting on a 12-49 record, which makes them second-worst in the NBA behind the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, there’s not a lot to make you smile. The play of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle is a good sign for the Los Angeles Lakers.
[Featured Photo by Sean M Haffey/Getty Images]