Julius Randle thrives for Lakers during loss at Oklahoma City
The Lakers’ early success against the Oklahoma City Thunder was driven by third-year forward Julius Randle. In the game’s first four minutes, Randle scored eight points and had two assists that led to three-pointers by point guard D’Angelo Russell.
The start was the best Coach Luke Walton had seen from his starting unit, and he said Randle sparked it.
“Just everyone was aggressive and all on the same page,” Randle said. “Just playing in our system.”
Randle finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, two turnovers and four fouls. It’s part of a strong start to the season for Randle.
“I feel like he’s doing a great job of just listening a little bit more as far as hearing other people’s opinions,” Russell said. “Last year he was good, but he had to pick and choose when to be aggressive in transition when he gets the rebound. Now I feel like he’s looking for others more and he’s finding a better balance of getting others involved.”
Brandon Ingram is back in lineup
Rookie Brandon Ingram returned to the lineup full time after sitting out the second half of Friday’s game against the Utah Jazz because of a sore right knee.
Ingram ran before the game and felt fine.
“I felt great today,” Ingram said. “I felt great on the court today. Lot of good movements. Tried to cut on it a little bit it felt good.”
Though tentative at first, he grew more confident in the knee’s health as the game progressed. Ingram finished with nine points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a turnover in 21 minutes.
“Once he kind of trusted it and saw that it felt good he was pretty darn good for us in the second half,” Walton said.
Lakers point guard Jose Calderon was also cleared to play after sitting out the team’s first two games. Calderon played only four minutes and took one shot. He said he felt rusty, but also left the game 100% healthy.
Not taking any chances
The Lakers stayed at the Skirvin Hilton during their trip to Oklahoma City, which sat better with some than others. Forward Larry Nance Jr. and guard Lou Williams opted to stay elsewhere.
“They say it’s haunted,” Williams said. “That’s enough for me. I’m not gonna roll the dice and try to figure it out.”
Seventeen-year veteran Metta World Peace said he felt a ghost’s presence during his stay and even said one touched him in a way he didn’t like.
“I swear to you,” World Peace said. “Honestly, definitely I felt something go like that.”
He glanced his hand over his face to demonstrate.
“It might have been around my chest,” he said. “I definitely felt it.”
The Lakers flew to Indianapolis to face the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and then will travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks on Wednesday before returning home to Los Angeles.
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