Happy Monday, everybody. Here are this week’s top Laker-centric reads, news and notes from around the web:
- WORLD BEATERS: The Lakers earned their third straight win in dominant fashion on Sunday, defeating the Phoenix Suns 97-77 in a game that was even further apart than that score suggests. Ryan Kelapire of Lakers Outsiders covered a few of the biggest takeaways, of which there were plenty.
- GUARD YOUR MAN: Despite the blowout, Byron wasn’t terribly happy about the reserves’ fourth quarter effort, and so he elected to send Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell back to the bench. Randle was visibly frustrated after the move — for which, Byron expressed little remorse after the game (via Broderick Turner; LA Times).
- IT’S ACTUALLY WORKING: On another note, Janis Carr of the OC Register recently revisited the benching of Russell and Randle and details that the two have actually improved during their time as reserves.
- GETTING TO KNOW D’ANGELO: In what I’d consider a must-read, lead Lakers.com reporter, Mike Trudell recently recently sat down with Russell for an at-length interview that touches on his upbringing, adjustment to the league and plenty more.
- NO RAGRETS: The Lakers beat the Sixers on New Year’s Day in a game which offered our second look at the matchup between rookies Russell and Okafor. Days prior to the game, Mitch Kupchak expressed to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News that the Lakers have no regrets in drafting the former over the latter.
- OH, WHAT COULD’VE BEEN: As you all know, Kobe made his final trip to Boston last week and what emerged was a slew of storylines. One of the more intriguing ones, came via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes in a piece that looked back at how Kobe almost became Boston Celtic during the 1996 draft process.
- THE GOOD IN SPORTS: For more perspective on Kobe’s trip to Boston, Jacob Noble of Hoopscritic wrote about how his final game at the Garden brought out everything that is right in sports. SB Nation’s Paul Flannery also relayed that Bostonians gave both Kobe and Kevin Garnett a proper farewell.
- RUH-ROH: Byron Scott says Kobe will “probably” have to manage shoulder pain throughout the rest of the season.
- WHY NOT BOTH?: At a season ticket holder event held Sunday, Mitch Kupchack suggested the franchise could opt to honor both Kobe’s No. 8 and 24 once he retires. The piece (via Eric Pincus of the LA Times) also includes a few quotes from Kupchack about his expectations for the team moving forward, making it well worth your time.
- HERE’S SOMETHING: In another piece from Baxter Holmes, he offers Lakers fans a small victory in relaying that at this point in the season, LA stands among the healthiest teams in the league.
- BRIGHT SPOTS AHEAD: Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times offered a bit more positivity to the Laker faithful, revealing a few more dates that the team can look forward to this year (And no, it’s not just the draft).
- CUT-DOWN DAY: One significant date on the horizon is Sunday, January 10th, better-known as the NBA’s cut-down day. By then, according to Eric Pincus, the Lakers will need to have made decisions on the contracts of Metta World Pece, Tarik Black and Marcelo Huertas.
- RIM, MEET ROY: While the Lakers were dunking all over the Suns last night, Roy Hibbert got in on the action by driving down the lane, faking a pass and finishing with a one-handed throw down over Tyson Chandler. He also drew a foul and drained the free throw. I’m not quite sure where this came from but it was fun and I’m pretty sure we’ll never see it again from Roy, so enjoy:
Lakers’ schedule for the week:
- The new and improved 2016 Lakers continue their quest for greatness at home, where they’ll look to conquer the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, January 5th (7:30 p.m. PT, NBATV and TWCSN) before heading north to face the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, January 7th (7:30 p.m. PT, TNT and TWCSN). LA then closes out the week with home dates against the Thunder on Friday, January 8th (7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN and TWCSN) and the Jazz on Sunday, January 10 (6:30 p.m. PT, TWCSN).