HONOLULU — Nothing stood in Julius Randle’s way as he leaped toward the basket.
The Lakers’ forward had an open lane to throw down a thunderous dunk after D’Angelo Russell threw a no-look bounce pass. Randle felt fully comfortable bulldozing his way inside with his brute strength. And he no longer looked limited with a surgically repaired right leg that left him sidelined for nearly his entire rookie season.
But then Utah forward Trevor Booker fouled Randle from behind, sending the Lakers’ forward crashing down on the same leg that he injured nearly 11 months ago. Hence, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant could not leap out his seat fast enough to attend to Randle.
“You damn right I did,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Stan Sheriff Center. “If I was fast enough to catch him, I would.”
The incident may have left the Lakers skittish. But it left Randle amused as he recalled thinking “nothing” as he took a fall that sparked gasps among the nearly partisan 10,300 watching in person and the countless purple and gold faithful observing around the world.
“I was fine,” Randle said. “I didn’t think I hurt myself or anything. I came down on my right leg, didn’t I? I think I came down on my right leg. I was more worried about getting back up.”
Los Angeles Lakers Media Day in El Segundo Monday September 28, 2015. Roy Hibbert interview. Photo By Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze
All the numbers suggest the NBA teams should go small, the influx of speedy point guards and outside shooters forcing the game to put less of an emphasis on size and power.
But to break that trend, Lakers center Roy Hibbert wants to take advantage of another number. His weight. Hibbert spent a significant chunk of his offseason losing 15 pounds in fat, so he would no longer become seen as a plodding big man.
“With how the NBA is going, you have a lot of quick centers,” Hibbert said on Monday at the Lakers’ Media Day at their practice facility in El Segundo. “It’s changed some things up. But I feel I’m in a place where I can hold my own in the post and get up and down the court.”
One of those centers includes Golden State’s Andrew Bogut, whose contributions Hibbert believes quickly became overshadowed with the outside shooting from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s emergence as well as the defense from Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. Yet, the 7-foot Bogut still landed on the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team and finished sixth in Defensive Player of the Year votes despite averaging a career-low 23.6 minutes per game.
“He didn’t score a lot, and he’s not the fastest guy out there. No disrespect to him,” Hibbert said of Bogut. “He was a friend of mien and I’ve known him for a while. I admire his game and how he sacrifices what he does to help his team win a championship. I don’t mind being the older guy that has to sacrifice and be the defensive anchor.”
It’s no secret that Jeremy Lin has been playing mostly well since being demoted to the bench in December. After a season-high 29 points on Sunday against Philadelphia, Lin will be rewarded with a return to the starting lineup on Tuesday at Oklahoma City.
Byron Scott announced the decision following practice on Monday by saying that Lin would be paired with Jordan Clarkson and it was something he had considered the previous weeks based on Lin’s performances leading up to Sunday
“It had nothing to do with last night but last night obviously made it a little bit easier to throw him in there because he played so well. We’ll see what happens on this trip,” Scott said.
One night after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds against Memphis, the Lakers’ Ed Davis shot 150 free throws at practice and has shown improvement at the free-throw line. Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
By Tony Ciniglio
Daily News staff writer
Ed Davis did not shy away from the free-throw line at Saturday’s practice, one day after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds of a 109-106 loss to Memphis.
Davis said he shot 150 free throws. And maybe more impressively, he made 115.
“You’ve just got to get in the gym more and keep working at it,” Davis said. “I’m glad I got to experience something like that. I wish it was a different outcome, but you live and you learn.”
Davis — shooting 51.7 percent from the free throw line this season — actually finished Friday’s game making 6 of 8 free throws and is 9 of 12 in his last two games since Lakers coach Byron Scott make a small tweak.
“With Ed, I saw one little thing. I moved him over just a tad (to his left). I think it centered him more,” Scott said. “He’s been making it ever since.
“Some of it is technique, some of it is just doing it on a day to day basis. Now it’s just a matter when he gets up there, he feels more comfortable and has that confidence.”
Kent Bazemore spent only two months last season with the Lakers, averaging a career-high 13.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)
ATLANTA — He often stayed up way past his bedtime watching Lakers star Kobe Brant put on a show. Kent Bazemore would then drift off to sleep dreaming someday he would wear the purple and gold uniform while playing alongside his favorite idol.
But all those years later, Bazemore discovered that nostalgia would not become as strong as other factors determining his NBA future. So as he mulled his free agency options this summer, Bazemore decided to sign with the Atlanta Hawks instead. The thought process strictly involved dollars and sense, his two-year guaranteed deal worth $6 million marking the first time in four NBA seasons he would have relative stability. Before, Bazemore had journeyman roles with the Golden State Warriors (2012-14) and Lakers (2014) without much security.
“Having a non guaranteed contract is the most stressful thing in the world, especially when January rolls around and that deadline comes up,” Bazemore said. “You start losing sleep. Being guaranteed is great. Now it’s just about working and trying to earn your stripes.” Continue reading →
On first glance, Nick Young appeared his usual self shooting on the court. Except that was shooting and dribbling with his left hand as his right hand was in a sling.
It was Young’s first appearance since tearing the radial collateral ligament in his thumb guarding Kobe Bryant. He later joined the team for sprints at the end of practice as Byron Scott said it was encouraging to see him run despite the sling. Continue reading →