Lakers Focus On Continuing Growth

Having won back-to-back games — including one against the defending champions — head coach Byron Scott is cautious about letting a little success have too big of a mental impact.

“The main thing is they don’t look at last night’s game and say, ‘OK, now we’ve arrived,’” Scott said at Wednesday's practice. “Because we haven’t. We’ve still got a long ways to go.”

The Lakers do still sit at just 14-51 on the season, but the team has seemed to really come together over the past pair of games, defeating Golden State by 17 and Orlando by nine.

Now, the challenge is to avoid falling back into the slumps that plagued them for most of the season.

“You can have relapses and kind of go back to square one, or you can show some maturity and some progress and continue to develop,” Scott said. “And that’s what I want to see in our young guys. And that’s what I saw last night.”

In particular, Los Angeles' young core of D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle stood out in Tuesday's win over the Magic.

Russell led all players with 27 points, while Clarkson followed with 24 of his own. Randle, meanwhile, tied his career-high with 23 points, while grabbing 11 rebounds for his 28th double-double.

“Last night, you could see them challenging each other on the court to get better and to defend people, run the offense better,” Scott said. “The dialogue has been very positive. I think they’re encouraging each other.

"They know they need to rely on each other. If we’re going to be successful as a team, there’s not one guy that can do it by himself.”

If there's one Laker who has seemingly been able to do it all on his own in the past, it's Kobe Bryant. The 20-year veteran is questionable for Thursday's game due to a sore shoulder that caused him to sit against the Magic. But if he does play, it'll be his last time facing a fellow NBA great: Cleveland's LeBron James.

The matchup's history isn't lost on Clarkson.

“Those are two guys we grew up (as) kids watching,” he said. “Them always being compared to Michael Jordan and stuff like that.”