The Los Angeles Lakers got their sixth win of the season when they defeated the Celtics 112-104 in Kobe Bryant's final game in Boston. Bryant's did get to play hero down the stretch, but he was put in the position to do so by a strong team effort. Lou Williams had 19 points on just 9 shots, and the Lakers young core trio of Jordan Clarkson (24 points on 10-15 shooting), D'Angelo Russell (16 points on 7-17 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 3 asssists), and Julius Randle (15 points and 12 rebounds) all had strong games as well. After the game, Russell partially credited Randle's willingness to shoot more, something he wants to continue.
"[Randle being willing to shoot] opens it up for us. He's always on attack, so when you penetrate and he's wide open at the three-point line and team's are daring him to shoot it, it's something that's going to open things up for everybody on the floor," said Russell, and he was correct that Randle was willing to shoot on Wednesday night, taking 16 shots, which was his second highest total of the season and highest since the team's third game.
Randle only made 6 of his attempts, but Russell's assertion that Randle's increased aggressiveness from the perimeter can help the team is correct. Randle has shot 50% on three-pointers over the Lakers' last 10 games, and while his percentage is unlikely to remain that high for the course of the season, a consistent three-point shot would not only open up the floor for his teammates, but it would force defenders to close out hard on Randle as well. This would allow him to even better utilize his explosive first step to get to the basket. Randle's shooting, and desire to do so, is just one more aspect of his development to watch going forward.
All quotes transcribed via Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, and all stats per NBA.com