D'Angelo Russell solid in Lakers' exhibition loss to Kings

D'Angelo Russell solid in Lakers' exhibition loss to Kings
Lakers' D'Angelo Russell, right, is fouled by Sacramento Kings' Jordan Farmar during a preseason game in Las Vegas on Thursday. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

His coach told him to keep shooting, his teammates did too, and Lakers point guard D'Angelo Russell listened.

He trusted that a game like Tuesday night's 0-for-9 three-point-shooting performance was just an anomaly, not the start of a trend. They were all right.


Russell made 10 of 14 shots Thursday night. He made five of six three-pointers, six of seven free throws and scored 31 points.

"Shots weren't falling for me last game," Russell said. "It happens. We just came together as a group. Got more open looks and we were knocking them down today."

And while that was all well and good, it wasn't the part of his game that most impressed his teammates. It was the way Russell passed the ball. Thursday's game marked the most complete offensive game Russell has played so far.

The Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings, 116-104, nine days after beating the Kings in their exhibition opener.

It was the first of two games for the Lakers in Las Vegas. They'll return to T-Mobile Arena on Saturday to face the Golden State Warriors. Russell added 11 assists, two steals and a rebound to his scoring barrage.

"That comes with preseason basketball, trying to find out how you can affect the game, how you can help the team," Lakers guard Lou Williams said. "Tonight he played a wonderful game.

" It's just one of those things in preseason we just hope he can find that rhythm and continue to be consistent with it."

Russell accounted for the Lakers' first five points and made all four of his first-half three-point attempts.

By halftime he had 16 points and three assists.

The Lakers passed the ball better than they have all preseason, as a whole.

For Russell's part, facilitation is part of the learning process as the second-year point guard works to develop his game.

"He made some really nice passes, getting guys involved," Coach Luke Walton said. "He did the best job so far of deciding when it was a good shot for him and when the defense was on him."

That was by design. After struggling Tuesday night, Russell sought the counsel of his coaches. The work paid off.

"Just tried to do a little bit of everything," Russell said. "At this level guys are capable of doing whatever they want to. If they want to get 15 or 10 assists, get 10 rebounds, anything is possible. I really tried to set my standards high today."


Twitter: @taniaganguli