The Los Angeles Lakers were able to pull out only their third win of the preseason on Wednesday night with the visiting Portland Trail Blazers unable to keep up with Julius Randle and company.
Despite being the second game of a back-to-back, the Lakers had one of the best team performances thus far. Randle had arguably the most impressive performance for the purple and gold at Citizens Business Bank Arena with the rookie forward putting the team on his back with Kobe Bryant resting.
Randle attributed his solid performance on Wednesday to his improved comfort level, via the Lakers Twitter account:
Randle: “Every game I feel more comfortable. Yesterday I felt extremely comfortable.“ The game is slowing down for the rookie.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 23, 2014
Randle scored a game-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting against the Blazers, helping lead the Lakers to an eight-point win. The rookie forward also ripped down eight rebounds in his 24 minutes off the bench.
With Kobe set to miss the preseason finale on Friday against the Sacramento Kings, Randle will have another opportunity to shine before making his regular season debut next Tuesday against the Houston Rockets.
Even though Carlos Boozer is expected to be named the starting power forward to start the season, the rookie out of Kentucky is turning a lot of heads in the preseason and that could easily carry over to the regular season. Many anticipated Randle eventually becoming the starter at some point. If he continues to play at this level, it may happen sooner rather than later.
Lakers Post-Game: Julius Randle Talks ‘Tough Love’ From Coaches