The Los Angeles Lakers young duo of D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle had big nights off the bench but couldn't stop Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 123-122 overtime loss. Russell scored a career-high 23 points, putting together an impressive second half that included 13 points in the fourth quarter. None were bigger than a runner he hit over Andrew Wiggins to force overtime. Russell had a chance to hit the game-winning shot in overtime with the Lakers down one, but seemed to lose his balance before taking a shot that rimmed out.
Julius Randle stretched his run of impressive play, finishing with 20 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. He continues to be effective no matter what his minutes or role are, using his motor and physicality carry his play. Both Randle and Russell played through the entire fourth quarter and overtime, getting an extended run to close out the game. They came close but couldn't quite finish off the Timberwolves, but the result is far less bothersome when we saw the sparks of a development process from both lottery talents.
Karl-Anthony Towns reigned supreme, though, asserting his size on the way to 14 rebounds and 26 points. The No. 1 pick looked every bit the top player of the draft, punishing the Lakers while showing off his touch. It was Kevin Martin's fiery shooting night that put burned the Lakers all night, though. Martin scored a game-high 37 points, making six of his nine attempts from deep.
Kobe Bryant played just eight minutes in the second half. Jordan Clarkson played even less after halftime, playing six minutes before leaving the game early despite trying to play through a mild ankle sprain. The loss is a loss, yes, but it's hard to feel the sting when it's on the back of two very good games from D'Angelo and Julius. They each played over 32 minutes.
It was a good fight from the unit that almost secured the Lakers' fourth win of the season, giving us the best look yet at Russell firing on all cyclinders as a scorer. The Lakers are off until Friday, where they open up a Texas back-to-back in San Antonio.