D’Angelo Russell returns however can’t beat Brook Lopez and Lakers – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — D’Angelo Russell adopted the identical concrete hall that for 2 years led him deep into the center of Staples Center, all the best way to the gold jersey bearing his title and No. 1 that hung in his locker.

On Friday, the previous Lakers level guard didn’t a lot as pause outdoors the Lakers locker room. He strolled previous Luke Walton’s pregame information convention, touched his fingers to his eyebrow in a quiet salute, and moved proper alongside.

In Russell’s first recreation again at Staples Center because the Lakers despatched him packing to clear the best way for Lonzo Ball, the previous No. 2 decide completed with 17 factors on Eight-of-24 capturing. However, the Lakers held on to win 124-112 behind a game-high 32 factors from former Net Brook Lopez.

Ball was quiet for the second evening in a row, scoring six factors to go along with seven badists and 5 rebounds.

Playing his first recreation towards the staff that drafted him in 2008, Lopez added 10 rebounds, whereas Kyle Kuzma, taken with No. 27 decide the Nets included within the commerce, made his first profession begin and logged a double-double with 21 factors and 13 rebounds.

Brandon Ingram was the third starter with a double-double: 18 factors and 10 rebounds.

Russell’s time with the Lakers was marked with inconsistency, turmoil and unfulfilled promise. It reached an abrupt finish on June 20 when he was traded, together with Timofey Mozgov, for Brook Lopez and the draft decide that turned Kuzma.

“I went through a lot,” Russell stated of his two seasons in L.A. “Kobe’s farewell, everything. I went through a lot. So, just to overcome that, I salute myself for that.”

Russell averaged 14.Three factors in his first two seasons within the league. Entering Friday’s recreation, he had averaged 21.7 factors by means of seven video games with Brooklyn.

When he was launched as the ultimate starter for the Nets, Russell was greeted principally by cheers. Those reworked into boos, nevertheless, when Russell checked into the sport early within the second quarter.

Moments earlier, Walton had greeted Russell on the scorers’ desk. The two laughed and shook arms. Russell shortly scored on a finger roll, then adopted that with a Three-pointer off the glbad, the form of sequence had given followers such hope throughout his 143 video games with the Lakers.

“I think possibly it could have worked out for him (with the Lakers),” Walton stated. “We went in another direction and I think in the long run it’s going to work out for us and it’s going to work out for him. So it’s hopefully a win-win.”

That may show true, however Walton’s model of the story ignores the frustration the Lakers encountered with Russell, who was a sufferer of relentless expectations. The Lakers wanted him to be a pacesetter past his years, the form of participant they imagine they’ve discovered with Ball.

Instead, Russell was each bit the 19-year-old they drafted and sluggish to embrace the rhythms and calls for of the NBA. There was an understanding across the NBA that the Lakers had been prepared to chop their losses. Walton stated that didn’t have an effect on how he considered the purpose guard.

“We were coaching D’Angelo as if he was going to be our point guard for the next 10 years, which was give him as much development as we can,” Walton stated, “stay on him, try to turn him into the player that best can help us win games.”

The turning level for Russell might need come on Feb. 21, when Jeanie Buss fired General Manager Mitch Kupchak and her brother Jim, the previous president of basketball operations, who watched Friday’s recreation from a courtside seat close to the Nets bench.

The pair was changed by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, who had no allegiance to Russell.

After the Lakers drafted Ball second total, Magic Johnson stated the Lakers had been in want of a pacesetter at level guard – a remark that was considered as a direct shot at Russell.

“I would say it ruffled a few feathers,” Russell stated, “but you control what you can control. He’s in a position to say what he wants. So, I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day.”

He will simply be doing it within the Eastern Conference within the black and white threads of a lottery staff and, when he performs at Staples Center, as a customer.

More to return on this story.

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