LOS ANGELES — In the final meeting against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers showed that they were more than up for the challenge on Sunday night rolling to a 127-113 win.
This balanced offensive effort was led by forward Julius Randle, who put together a career-best night posting a career-high 36 points along with 14 rebounds and seven assists. This marked the first player since Kobe Bryant on March 23, 2008 to record at least 30 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists in a single game. In fact, he joins a short-list of players to do that feat that also includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Despite it being a back-and-forth affair in the first two quarters, Los Angeles took control of the game in the second half with Randle being the leading offensive force scoring 23 points on a nearly perfect 10-of-11 shooting from the field with 13 points coming in the final period.
Following the game, head coach Luke Walton had a huge amount of praise toward the 23- year-old calling his play against the Cavaliers a “pretty special” outing.
“He was pretty special,” Walton said. “Showed a lot of what he can do. The crazy thing is, I still think he can be better.”
In many ways, Randle has seen some big improvement in his play in his fourth campaign as Sunday’s performance has pushed him up to 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds on the season. He has taken that to the next level in the month of March in six games played averaging 22.8 points on 59 percent shooting from the field with 8.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists over that stretch. This includes notching a pair of double-doubles along with four games at least 20 points.
“I just try to be aggressive and under control for the most part and make the play for myself and my teammates,” Randle said.
Randle’ career night also caught the attention of LeBron James, who voiced some big praise toward the Lakers’ forward after the game as the two were paired up against each other on both ends of the floor for much of the night.
“Everybody’s had a hard time with him as of late,” James said.
With 16 games left in the season, it could provide Randle an opportunity to finish out the season strong while potentially help his team making a potential playoff push.
Bob Garcia IV
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