Luke Walton Benches All Starters After Being Down 0-14 To Wolves, Lonzo-Less Lakers Lose Again!
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It’s not easy being a Lakers fan right now, especially one wearing a #FreeJulius (as in Free Julius Randle, not get a free Orange Julius) shirt.
Playing against the red-hot Wolves, the ice-cold, Lonzo-less Lakers started the new year exactly how they ended it: with another L. The Lakers 18-point loss to the Wolves was their 7th loss in a row and 10th in their last 11 games. And they started their latest loss by getting outscored 0-16 in the first five minutes of the opening quarter. Coach Luke Walton was so upset about the start, he benched the entire scoreless starting line-up.
And here’s the part where I try to start some unnecessary drama in the hopes of “freeing” Julius Randle, who put up 29 points, 15 boards and 6 assists as a starter on New Years Eve. If you watch the video above, you can see Randle bumping Corey Brewer as he walks to the bench. Was this intentional? Personal? Or was this just Randle being frustrated and not looking up? The answer is most likely the last of the three.
Jordan Clarkson (the other Laker that has been name dropped in trade rumors) came in and provided some instant offense but the Lakers still found themselves down 30-18 after the opening quarter, which saw the team commit 8 of their 24 turnovers.
“The turnovers are the most frustrating part,” said Walton. “I can’t blame just turnovers on them going up 16-0 and us not playing with energy, and us not putting pressure on the defense even though that was the whole message going into the game.”
The Wolves only outscored the Lakers by six points in the final three quarters but a loss is a loss and as mentioned, this was the 7th loss in a row for the struggling franchise.
Clarkson finished with a team-high 20; Rookie of the Year candidate Kyle Kuzma had just 6 points in 18 minutes; Josh Hart followed up his career-high with 10; Brandon “Is he really with Bella?” Ingram had 14; Birthday boy Larry Nance Jr had 6 and just 4 rebounds; And Julius Randle had 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with a team-high 12 boards in 28 minutes.
And here’s the part where I pass out the #FreeJulius and #WeNeedLonzoBack buttons. I’m pretty sure Walton won’t wear the Julius one but he definitely will wear a jacket full of Zo ones.