Lakers: 3 Takeaways From the Preseason Loss vs Sacramento Kings

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Russell quickly brushed off his Tuesday shooting woes, dropping 31 points and a double-double.

The sophomore guard was dialed in from the start, scoring 10 first quarter points and finishing the game shooting 71 percent from the field. He added 11 assists as well in what was easily his best game of the preseason.

Matched up against Darren Collison for much of the night, Russell deftly used the pick and roll game and off-ball movement to find open looks. Unlike in Tuesday’s content, he cashed in on these opportunities, and often helped the Lakers break out of scoring droughts with his rhythm on the offensive end.

Unfortunately, on the end, his lapses on defense continued to dog him, a fact not lost on coach Walton.

Russell was particularly weak on ball, allowing Collison open paths to the basket and relying on weak side rotations from Mozgov, Yi, or Randle that just weren’t there.

But that’s quite the nitpick on a night where the likely future face of the franchise showed clear signs of why he was taken second overall last season. The games don’t count yet, but Russell’s confidence as a ball handler and primary scorer will be crucial as the Lakers continue to rebuild.

A real comes next week as the Purple and Gold double up in Vegas against Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and the Golden State Warriors.