The Lakers (4-21) won their second home game of the season, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks (10-16) on Tuesday. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers' 113-85 win at Staples Center.
1. After so many losses this season, the vibe around the team after the win was noticeably different.
Coach Byron Scott was out quicker after his meeting with the team to talk to the media. The locker room was open earlier.
The players were cheerful and more talkative -- plenty of smiles from players and coaches alike.
Seven players finished in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant with 22 points.
2. The Lakers shared the ball well against Milwaukee, converting 41 baskets on a season-high 26 assists, with 14 turnovers.
Bryant looked to make plays, finishing with six assists. Jordan Clarkson returned from an ankle injury to score 12 with three assists.
Clarkson's return pushed D'Angelo Russell back to the bench, where he led all players with seven assists. Marcelo Huertas played just two late minutes, instead of playing alongside Russell in the second unit as he had in recent games before Clarkson's minor injury.
Russell hit seven of 13 shots, scoring 19 points in 29 1/2 minutes.
"He's playing with a lot of confidence," Scott said of Russell. "He has the personality to be a leader, but at 19 [years old], you can't figure it out. It just comes naturally. For him, communication on the floor is natural, but the leadership part, you have to earn that from your teammates."
Bryant is pleased with how his young teammate is developing.
"I think he's reading the flow of the game much better," Bryant said. "I think that just comes from time and experience. It seems like he's more comfortable with the tempo of the game, where now he can, instead of reacting to plays, he can really read in advance what is going to happen -- which then puts him more in control."
3. The Bucks played without one of their best players, which didn't hurt the Lakers' cause.
"I think we missed Moose tonight," Coach Jason Kidd said of Greg Monroe, whose nickname apparently is Moose.
"Understand [he's] the guy that we can go to in the post, on the block and to slow things down," Kidd said. "They had their way on the rebound offensively. Every time we got a miss, they came up with the loose ball or the rebound and converted."
The Lakers finished with an 18-12 advantage on the offensive glass, led by Julius Randle with six off the bench. Starters Roy Hibbert and Larry Nance Jr. also had four apiece.
The 18 offensive rebounds were also a season high for the team.
Randle led all players with 14 total rebounds, followed by Hibbert with 11. The Lakers held a 52-38 total rebounding edge.
Monroe was a late scratch after he "knocked knees" at the team's shootaround, Kidd said. He's to be evaluated on Wednesday, the coach said.
4. Bucks forward/center John Henson left impressed by Randle's play.
"He was a force down there," Henson said. "His energy [was good], maybe coming off the bench had something do with that. He's a good player.
Randle scored 14 points to go with his 14 rebounds, his 11th double-double this season.
"His effort was great," Scott said. "He was all over the place, trying to rebound the ball. That's how he has to play. He has to play with that level of effort and intensity."
5. The Lakers are still in last place in the Western Conference, better than just the Philadelphia 76ers (1-25).
The Lakers are seven games behind the eighth-place Denver Nuggets (11-14) and 2.5 behind the 14th-place New Orleans Pelicans (6-18).
Looking ahead to the 2016 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers would have a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in next June's draft. If the Lakers fall below third in the lottery, the Philadelphia 76ers will get the team's pick as part of the Steve Nash trade, via the Phoenix Suns.
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