Winning feels good for the Lakers, who are having that feeling infrequently lately. They did Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, a bit of a surprising win considering Memphis’ defensive prowess.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s game.
1. There's a connection between Julius Randle and Lakers Coach Luke Walton that is helping Randle's play. One of Walton’s best skills is the ability to read people, and it appears he’s read Randle perfectly. Randle often smiles when he talks about Walton pushing his buttons. In the moment he might get angry, but when he pauses to think about why, he appreciates the interaction.
2. Walton said that when he gets on Randle, it is not to inspire him or provoke him, it’s simply to teach Randle something he needs to know. Whatever the reason for those interactions, they clearly motivate Randle. It’s hard to imagine that is by accident.
3. Nick Young has now made 42 three-pointers in the past nine games. It was only the fourth time in franchise history that two Lakers players hit six or more three-pointers in a game. The third time in franchise history came Sunday against the Raptors.
4. Walton went heavy on the minutes for his starters on Tuesday. Timofey Mozgov and Randle both played more than 37 minutes. At one point in the game, Walton replaced the entire second unit after they gave up a transition dunk and returned to the starters. Playing the starters more wasn’t by design; Walton said it just happened on Tuesday. But it’s something he's comfortable doing.
5. The first statistic Walton mentioned postgame was the Lakers’ 34 assists. When the Lakers share the ball like that and win, it helps drive home the point that it works.