D'Angelo Russell is guarded by Jose Calderon at practice on Feb. 13, 2017.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers Look to Build Upon Road Trip

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Fresh off of their victory over Milwaukee to close out a five-game road trip, the Lakers are seeking to carry some momentum into All-Star Weekend.

Only two games remain before getting an eight-day break, but D’Angelo Russell cautions his team about getting their emotions too tied up with the final results.

“When we have a bad night or something like that, we can’t go pointing fingers and being young and immature about it,” Russell said during Monday’s Lakers Voices session. “It’s something we’ve got to just stick with.

“And then when we play well, we can’t get too high on ourselves, like, ‘All right, we’re there.’”

Russell is one of three Lakers who will make the trip to New Orleans for All-Star competition.

He and Brandon Ingram will play in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, while Nick Young will shoot at Saturday’s Three-Point Contest.

For head coach Luke Walton, Russell and Ingram’s inclusions into the annual game for the league’s top rookies and sophomores are welcome signs for the future.

“That’s what happens when you’re trying to climb back up after you lose Hall of Fame players,” Walton said at Monday’s practice. “We’ve got some young guys that are obviously playing well. It’s nice for them to be recognized by the other coaches in the NBA.”

Looking forward, Walton would like to see Russell blend his scoring and passing more, like when he tallied back-to-back double-doubles two weeks ago.

“When he’s in score mode, he’s a really good scorer,” Walton said. “When he’s in pass mode, he’s a really good passer. There are sometimes when he is doing both. That’s when his game’s at its best.”

Russell, meanwhile, sees his growth coming naturally with experience. But he also knows that — as a 6-foot-5 point guard — adding more strength could open up new levels to his game.

“Being stronger at this level puts you over the edge in your position,” Russell said. “If you’re stronger than the next guy that you’re competing with, it kind of gives you more leverage and an advantage.”

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