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Shortage of victories overshadows D’Angelo Russell’s and Julius Randle’s stats

Although the results have been lackluster, the numbers put up by rookie guard D'Angelo Russell, right, and second-year forward Julius Randle have been noteworthy.

Although the results have been lackluster, the numbers put up by rookie guard D’Angelo Russell, right, and second-year forward Julius Randle have been noteworthy.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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The handful of impressive stats are there for D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. The victories aren’t.

It’s hard to commend one without the other.

Russell has set a Lakers rookie record with 130 three-pointers and Randle leads all second-year NBA players with 34 double-doubles.

If only there weren’t those other numbers, the ones that show the Lakers with a 16-64 record and skimming NBA depths in field-goal accuracy (30th), assists (30th) and team defense (27th).

Lakers Coach Byron Scott used the phrase “big accomplishment” to describe what Russell and Randle had done.

But…

“The bottom line, when it’s all said and done, is winning matters more than individual achievements,” Scott said Sunday. “When you look at it that way, they both had nice rookie seasons but it don’t mean a whole hell of a lot when you don’t win on a consistent basis.”

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Scott made the point that he played well as a rookie but the Lakers lost in the NBA Finals to Boston. Failed season, in his eyes.

Randle is actually in his second year but played only one game as a rookie before a season-ending broken leg. He is an inconsistent shooter who routinely breaks double-figure scoring thanks primarily to hustle. Despite being undersized for power forward, he has a nice appetite for rebounds.

Russell has shown range behind the arc and needs depth in other areas — scoring off drives and mid-range jumpers.

“It has to be three dimensions to his game. It just can’t be one,” Scott said.

It’s also important for Russell to get stronger in his upper and lower body, Scott said.

Russell understands the constructive criticism. He’s not satisfied with breaking Nick Van Exel’s team record of 123 threes for rookies. He almost sounds like Scott, actually.

“It’s always good to have individual stats that you could look back to and know your name’s on top of it,” Russell said. “The main focus is winning games and getting as far as you can possibly get.”

Bryant not bummed

The Lakers got demoted from ESPN to ESPN2 for Kobe Bryant’s final game Wednesday against Utah so ESPN could show Golden State’s pursuit of the NBA’s best-ever regular-season record.

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It touched off a mini-debate on Twitter when it was announced Saturday night but there was one person who didn’t care.

“What do you want me to tell you? It hurt my feelings?” Bryant said sarcastically.

The Warriors (72-9) need to beat Memphis to break Chicago’s 72-10 mark set in 1995-96.

Some critics wondered whether the Warriors would be better off resting for playoffs instead of chasing regular-season greatness. Not Bryant.

“I think they should go after it. I certainly would,” he said. “I wouldn’t rest one second.”

In addition to ESPN2, TWC SportsNet will televise Bryant’s last game.

NEXT UP

AT OKLAHOMA CITY

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When: Monday, 5 p.m. PDT.

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 16-64, Thunder 54-26.\

Record vs. Thunder: 0-3.

Update: Oklahoma City doesn’t have much to prove here, locked into third place in the Western Conference with playoffs just around the corner. The Lakers had two laughably bad games against the Thunder in December, losing by 40 and 35 points within a handful of days. The Lakers fell by only four to the Thunder in January after Lou Williams scored 44 points.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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