For the third time this season the Los Angeles Lakers gave the defending champion Golden State Warriors everything they could handle. But for the third consecutive time, the Lakers came up just short in the end, falling 113-106.
Kyle Kuzma once again had a huge scoring night, joining distinguished Lakers rookies in the process, but one of the major catalysts for the team on Friday was Julius Randle. After playing just eight minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets, Randle responded with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Randle has been effective operating as the team’s backup center, but it’s no secret that he’d prefer to be playing more than the 22 minutes he’s averaging this season. Nonetheless, Randle is embracing his reserve role as he told Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group, because it’s out of his hands:
“I have no choice,” he said. “It’s the situation I’m in so I’m going to embrace the situation I’m in right now.”
Head coach Luke Walton acknowledged that Randle was probably frustrated from his lack of minutes in the previous game, but is more focused on getting Randle to find some consistency:
“I think he was a little frustrated from his playing time last game,” Walton said, “and when he plays like that he’s one of the best big men in our league. He’s so versatile. He flies up and down the court. He can grab rebounds, block shots.
“We just need to find a way to get him to be able to play like that as more of his norm”
There is no doubting Randle’s talent when he is focused and locked in. Unfortunately, consistency remains a problem for the fourth-year forward and it’s something that must be fixed for him to realize his potential.
Randle might prefer to play more minutes, but it is entirely possible that he is best-suited for a role like this where he can go all out in spurts. Regardless of what his role is, embracing and thriving in it is something that is completely in his hands.
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