Luke Walton began his post-practice interview on Sunday by opening with a message to convey the Los Angeles Lakers addressed the fight internally and that his focus was on their play and improving as a team.
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Walton’s hope and attempt was to dissuade the assembled media from asking questions pertaining to the brawl. It proved futile. Walton was peppered with questions ranging from how the team would handle rotations once expected suspensions are handed down to what the Lakers learned from the incident.
“We talked about that as a group,” Walton said. “Everyone learned something differently, but we brought it up. We talked about it. The message was delivered and now it’s about next man up, moving forward, keep positive and getting better.
“We put our focus on getting better today and we did that. We had a good practice.”
Walton declined to reveal which players may or may not have addressed the team during their meeting in the film room. He did reveal an open forum was provided to whoever wished to speak.
Further indication of his reluctance to continue focusing on the fight came when Walton answered a question about potential disappointment over the night’s developments by touching on the team’s play. “The game? No, I thought we played well,” he responded without missing a beat.
“I thought we had a chance. We were only down one or two (points) late in the game. First night, we gave up around 20 second-chance points. Last night, we were down around eight or nine. Things we’re focusing on and things we’re getting better at, we’re doing.”
One of the final questions posed about the fight centered around Paul’s allegation that Rondo spit on his face. When asked if he considered that to be true, Walton said, “no.”
If the Lakers are to be without Rondo for an extended period of time, conventional wisdom is it would mean an expanded role and return to the starting lineup for Lonzo Ball. He’s played under a minutes restriction that Walton conceded could be removed.
He planned to meet with the Lakers training staff to evaluate Ball, as they do the day following a game, and from there it would be removing himself even more from the fight. “When I get out of here, I’m going to go watch film on San Antonio,” Walton said.