The Lakers were well represented in the NBA's Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend.
Although the team was disappointed that second-year forward Julius Randle wasn't invited, fellow classmate Jordan Clarkson and rookie D'Angelo Russell helped lead the USA squad to a 157-154 win over the World team.
Both Lakers spoke at the postgame news conference Friday night. When Russell was asked by a Times reporter how he felt to be "unleashed" in the exhibition, scoring 22 points with seven assists in only 16 minutes, Clarkson quietly warned his teammate not to say anything, "crazy."
Clarkson talked about looking out for Russell on Wednesday, after the Lakers' first practice since the All-Star break.
"They were asking some crazy questions, and I just didn't want him to get put in a situation where he was looked at as a problem or something. We ain't got no problems here," said Clarkson. "I didn't think they were going to catch me saying it."
Russell has clashed at times throughout the season with Coach Byron Scott, sliding from his initial starting lineup to a bench role. Scott has previously likened his style of coaching as tough love, hoping to help the 19-year old Russell mature as a player.
"I didn't know he said that until I saw it blow up a little bit on SportsCenter," said Russell. "There was no defense in that game. Guys were making shots, so it's easy to jump the wagon and say some stuff like that but I appreciate Jordan."
"I don't really care about the starting lineup. I don't," he continued.
Scott said he didn't see the postgame news conference, but from what he learned from the media, he was happy with Clarkson's leadership in protecting his younger teammate.
"I think Jordan was doing a good job of giving him some good advice," said Scott.