Julius Randle’s Emergence Energizing the Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES — The 2015-16 Los Angeles Lakers finally notched their fourth victory in a desolate 17-win season on Dec. 15, cruising past the Milwaukee Bucks behind 22 points from All-Star Kobe Bryant.

It was one of not many highlights in what proved to be the worst season in Lakers franchise history.

"I want that to be a thing of the past," said third-year forward Julius Randle, looking back Tuesday night after the Lakers saw their three-game winning streak end following a 109-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Just seven games into the current campaign, the rejuvenated Lakers had already notched their fourth victory—a full 39 days ahead of last year's pace.

"We've been on the other side. We've lost three in a row. We've lost five in a row," Randle said, finding motivation in the recent history. "I've been on the other side and it sucks."

The 21-year-old Kentucky product has been a significant part of the team's early success; Randle is currently sixth in the league in field-goal percentage at 58.8 percent while averaging 14.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists. During last week's 117-97 blitzing of the Golden State Warriors, Randle gave the Lakers 20 points and 14 rebounds.

He believes the team is on the right path now, with new head coach Luke Walton giving the Lakers an unselfish plan of attack.

"You see it works. You start to see success playing the right way," Randle said. "You start to see success in that, and it's contagious."

The Lakers (4-4) have been a pleasant surprise in this early NBA season, defeating playoff-caliber franchises like the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets and Warriors.

With a young roster, slip-ups are inevitable: The Mavericks (2-6) out-executed the Lakers, despite playing without former All-Stars Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams. It was the Lakers' first home loss in four tries.

"I don...

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