Lakers News: Latest Comments on D’Angelo Russell’s Rise, Victory vs. Nets, More

The Los Angeles Lakers were expected to make progress this season after an extended rebuild that coincided with the final years of Kobe Bryant's career. The first 12 games of the campaign suggest the learning curve might not be as steep as expected.

Los Angeles holds a 7-5 record following Tuesday night's triumph over the Brooklyn Nets, including six wins in its past eight games. While it's still early, the mark would currently be good enough to secure a playoff berth as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

New head coach Luke Walton has found success by relying heavily on depth rather than trying to force D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and the team's other young stars to handle too much of the burden too soon. Second overall selection Brandon Ingram is playing just 22 minutes per game so far.

Russell, last year's second overall pick, was the standout performer against Brooklyn. He made seven of his 13 three-point attempts en route to 32 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the 125-118 victory.

Walton said afterward he believes the point guard is at his best when he brings energy to the game defensively first and foremost, per Mark Medina of the Orange County Register.

"He was active on defense," the head coach said. "That's what I was most impressed and happy with. It feels like every time he has one of these big games, he starts the game making plays for us on the defensive end."

Tuesday's clash with the Nets also brought a renewed vibe of expectation back to the Lakers. After winning just 65 games over the last three years combined, the solid start to this season meant they were expected to handle Brooklyn at home quite comfortably.

It didn't play out that way as defensive lapses allowed the Nets to keep it close. But L.A. rose to the occasion in the second half to get the win.

Greg Beacham of the Associated...

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