Lakers News: Latest on D’Angelo Russell Injury, Julius Randle and More

It seems like a long time ago that the Golden State Warriors blew away the young Los Angeles Lakers in back-to-back games.

Reality check—it was just last week. Want a bigger reality check? The Lakers took to the court Sunday night and completed a season sweep of the Atlanta Hawks and old friend Dwight Howard.

Oh, and the youngsters did it without D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.

That's impressive since Russell ranks second on the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game and Randle isn't far off at 13.3. Both are averaging 26-plus minutes per game.

It's remarkable what they can do when they're allowed to play, right?

The bench made the difference in the 109-94 win. A rejuvenated Nick Young got the start and dropped 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and 4-of-5 from deep. Lou Williams led all Lakers with 21, while Jordan Clarkson scored 18.

For context, the Lakers beat an Eastern Conference contender, or at least a team that fancies itself as such, without two of their best players. The credit mostly goes to one man, as ESPN's Marc Stein implied:

Such effectiveness from the bench might shock many but not head coach Luke Walton. In what has been a rather drab season for news with the Lakers being competitive once again, Walton has remained adamant in his rotational usage rates, stressing the complementary style.'s Baxter Holmes provided Walton's explanation for his rotation:

Walton noted that his bench unit has a wide variety of skill sets that complement each other well. Clarkson and Williams are potent scorers. Forward Brandon Ingram’s 7-foot-3 wingspan makes him a versatile defender, plus he can play point guard on offense. Nance and center Tarik Black can guard interior and perimeter players, as well as run the pick-and-roll with proficiency.

Given the results, who can argue? As t...

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