Luke Walton hopes D’Angelo Russell remains effective even when off

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers coach Luke Walton has seen Russell experience other challenges, too. After insisting Russell should feel free to take any open shots, Walton believed Russell’s 3-of-14 clip “got him disconnected a little bit.”“He was trying to do the right thing, which I’m fine with,” Walton said. “But when the shot’s not going individually, especially for a point guard, it’s finding other ways to stay really locked in.”Walton plans to discuss more in depth with Russell, but he already sounded self-critical. “I have to take the right shot when it’s there. But I have to make the right play when it’s there,” Russell said. “I still have to separate myself to be good enough to make those plays.” Injury update The Lakers diagnosed Brandon Ingram with tendinitis in his right knee, though an MRI revealed no structural damage. The Lakers listed Ingram as probable for Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City. He completed a full-contact practice on Saturday without any restrictions. Ingram also provided a positive report on his ability to run up and down the court and make hard cuts.“I’ll come back to shoot around and see how I feel after that,” said Ingram, who played in only four minutes in Friday’s game against Utah. “If I feel good to play, I’ll play.”The Lakers also expect backup point guard Jose Calderon to return after missing the previous two contests with a strained left calf. Walton does not plan to play Calderon more than 30 minutes. Going deepEven through the elation over picking up his first victory as an NBA head coach, Walton still felt upset with something. He jokingly blamed Lakers assistant Brian Shaw for not helping him allot minutes last week to Thomas Robinson against Houston as the team’s 13th player. It seems ambitious for Walton to field a 12-player lineup for all of the 2016-17 season as he has done for the first two games. But he plans to field a “deep rotation” in hopes “to wear teams down.”“I know how much more a part of the team you feel even if it’s just only four or five minutes on a certain night,” said Walton, referring to his 10-year NBA career. “With the environment we’re trying to build and foundation we’re trying to set, we want everyone believing in the idea that it is our team and different nights it’s going to be different people.”Upon further reviewThrough his early coaching tenure, Walton has adopted Phil Jackson’s coaching style with both his calm demeanor and empowering players. Walton critiqued the officiating in Friday’s loss to Utah, something Jackson often did well arguably to influence how future games are called. Yet, Walton maintained that did not fit his thought process.“I’m always going to try to support the guys, but the officials have an impossible job,” Walton said. “There’s so many things they have to call, look at and watch for. Then they constantly have two coaches all over them.”center_img OKLAHOMA CITY >> The buzzer just sounded, signaling both the Lakers’ first loss of the 2016-17 season and the end of a frustrating game filled with endless whistles. Before Lakers forward Julius Randle could express any more frustration, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell wrapped his arm around him and offered some encouraging words. “When we lose, we can’t be separated or anything like that,” Russell said after the Lakers’ loss to Utah on Friday. “That’s when we have to come together. I was trying to preach that.”The incident highlighted Russell’s emergence as a leader as the Lakers (1-1) visit the Oklahoma City Thunder today at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Moments later, though, Russell showed how that area still remains a work in progress. In the locker room, Russell lamented about calls, prompting veteran forward Luol Deng to address him privately. last_img

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