Lakers News: Julius Randle & Isaiah Thomas’ Fight Gets Head Coach Luke Walton’s Approval

An incident on the sidelines involving Randle and IT was about the players trying to step their game up.

Rich PedroncelliAP Images

A recent sideline argument involving Los Angeles Lakers players Julius Randle and Isaiah Thomas was recently discussed by Lakers players and head coach Luke Walton. While things seemed to be heated between the two teammates, it was more of an attempt for the two players to “bring the best out of each other.” In addition to that, there doesn’t appear to be anything personal between the two Lakers players and their head coach said he liked what he saw as they tried to get fired up.

ESPN‘s Ohm Youngmisuk reported that Lakers players Julius Randle and Isaiah Thomas were going at one another verbally during a timeout to the point they needed to be separated by center Brook Lopez in the third quarter. Rookie Lonzo Ball also tried to help calm down Randle during the incident. They would eventually get to that point where they were able to sit on the bench next to one another and even played together in the game a bit more before Randle fouled out. The two players never really said what the argument was about, but it appeared to be something that started when playing together on the court during the team’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

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Head coach Luke Walton said the following of the incident.

“I told them afterward, I love it. As long as they’re open-minded and whatever they were arguing about, they get it figured out. We have been trying to get our guys to talk [on defense] all year long and if it is a heated conversation, that means it is two people that are passionate about something and we will take that on our team any day.”

The latest game marked the first official start for Isaiah Thomas who joined the team via a midseason trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Lakers sent younger players Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cavs in exchange for the All-Star guard and Channing Frye. Since Thomas’ arrival, the team has seemed to improve, as they are 7-3 over their last 10 games, and just six games under.500 at the moment.

They’re still officially competing for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, but will probably need a major run and some luck to get there. Still, Julius Randle has shown his impressive abilities lately, especially during the absence of Brandon Ingram. Thomas has also shown his talents, although there have been rumors involving both players potentially leaving the team after the season via free agency or trades.

The Los Angeles Lakers ended up losing that latest game, 117-106 against Kevin Durant and the Warriors. However, it appears that whatever occurred between the two teammates was a positive thing. Randle would later confirm that notion after the incident, calling it “great.”

“We expect a lot out of each other and it was just communicating, man. We want to win, we expect to win these games and we expect each other to play at a certain level, so it was just us being teammates. There’s nobody I’d rather go to war with than IT. So it’s nothing personal, we’re just trying to get the best out of each other and win the game.”

The team is scheduled for their next game on Friday night. They’ll be at home at the Staples Center this time hosting the Miami Heat and trying to bounce back from the loss to Golden State. Los Angeles fans will hope that the “heat” from that Randle vs. IT sidelines spat will carry over to their next contest and get them back on the winning side, rather than falling into dysfunction.