Lou Williams poured in 14 of his team-high 24 points in the final period, while Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young filled out a lineup that was rather small, relatively inexperienced and totally unorthodox. The Lakers outscored Denver 37-26 in the fourth.What might Russell and Randle have been thinking as this unfolded?“They sat there on the bench,” Walton said, “and saw five guys give their all.”It should be a wake-up call. The Lakers were better without them Tuesday night. It won’t be that way every night, but on Tuesday the patient coach players love finally revealed what it looks like when he gets tough.“I think it’s really important to have the lesson of you get what you deserve,” Walton said, “the work you put in and nothing’s given to you. You have to earn things in this league. So I think that’s a good, important lesson for them to see. “They should be just as happy for those guys that finished the game as the bench players are for them when they’re doing well.”Randle finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in 25 minutes, while Russell’s numbers were more concerning. He scored just 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting in 17 minutes. Russell has now logged just 3:47 of total game time in the fourth quarters of the Lakers’ last three games.From that void grew something kind of beautiful.“I was really proud of the way that we fought,” Walton said, “and didn’t give in to the easy temptation of just calling it a night and being down 20 and going home.”Up until the fourth quarter, the game had been defined by “lazy defense,” Walton said. He made regular substitutions, and with 7:33 remaining in the third, with the Lakers down 82-66, Walton pulled all five starters after Nikola Jokic jammed home a dunk after the Lakers failed to snare a missed free throw by Emmanuel Mudiay.“Even though they (Russell and Randle) were trying to play hard at that moment,” Walton said, “it’s a group thing and everyone’s got to be responsible, so if one guy messes up at one thing that we talk about all the time, all five are coming out.”Walton set his lineup for the fourth quarter, and did not change it until he replaced Zubac with Thomas Robinson for defense with 24.8 seconds left.“We made subs until we found a group of guys that was willing to commit and fight and gave ourselves a chance,” Walton said.At a certain point it became clear that Russell and Randle had about as much chance of checking into the game for the Lakers as Jack Nicholson. And he wasn’t even at the game.To his credit, Russell continued to say the right things. He acknowledged he hasn’t “been bringing it” and used an expletive to describe his play. He said he applauded Walton for finding a lineup that worked.“They were scrapping, they were running around,” Russell said. “There wasn’t really too many plays getting called, they got stops and scored in transition. It was nice.”Randle echoed the sentiment.“We’re in this together,” he said. “I’m not going to point fingers. The unit that was out there was doing a great job. They got us back in the game. I’m for the team.”In the final minutes of a tense game, Russell and Randle were on their feet with the rest of the Lakers bench, arms around one another’s shoulders, willing shots to go in before they eventually clanked off the rim, sending the Lakers to their fifth straight loss (and 21st in their last 26).It was, finally, a good effort; a game that could have been won.“It’s never fun to lose,” Russell said, “but if you do lose, you’ve got to look in the mirror and say you fought your heart out. And that’s what we did.”If Russell learned anything at all from watching, maybe next time he and Randle will get the chance to contribute. LOS ANGELES — It took 36 ugly minutes, plus many a long December and January night, but the Lakers rediscovered the grit, joy and effort that made them such unlikely contenders for a playoff spot early in the season. And Luke Walton finally found a lineup that provided those things.The Lakers chipped away at a 17-point deficit, crawled within one. They glided back on defense and a certain lanky center challenged shots at the rim. Offensively, the ball zipped from side-to-side, from in-to-out, good shots being passed up for better ones. Denver still won, 127-121, but, as Walton gushed, “We found it again. We found our passion, our fight, our togetherness.”They found it with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle on the bench. Walton drew a big line in the sand Tuesday night, and it wasn’t hard to decipher who was on the wrong side of it.The two former lottery picks sat for the final 19 minutes, 33 seconds of the game while Brandon Ingram dazzled with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Ivica Zubac, the lean 19-year-old second-round pick whose meaningful on-court time this season has come in the D-League, played a career-high 26 minutes and recorded his first career double-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Despite the growing optimism for a solution to the Cyprus issue, Australian Cypriots remain committed to their struggle for justice. During the 44th Pan-Australian Convention of the the Federation of Cyprus Communities of Australia & New Zealand convention held in Adelaide last weekend, a statement was issued warning of the attempts to upgrade the Turkish-Cypriot ‘pseudostate’s’ status in the international community, as part of the talks for a unification of the torn country. The gradual approach of the Cypriot state and the Turkish Cypriot community has led to a prevailing sentiment of hope among the international community and the prospect of a federation seems to be more realistic than ever. Recently, Cypriot president Nikos Anastasiadis pledged that he will deliver a unified Cyprus by the end of his term in 2018, but this should not be the cause of complacency, noted Constantinos Prokopiou, president of the Pan-Australian Justice for Cyprus Coordinating Committee (PASEKA), in a statement he made during the convention. “At this stage of talks, we should not allow any upgrade of the pseudo-state’s status that could influence the course of negociations, or even the increase of the Turkish-Cypriot community irrational demands, when we reach the final stage. “There are cases of recent such attempts in Australia, which we should address effectively.” Echoing this sentiment, the president of the Federation of Cyprus Communities of Australia & New Zealand, Michael Christodoulou, made an impression with his personal address to the federal MP of Hindmarsh, Matt Williams, in which he sent a message to the Australian government to refrain from withdrawing its police precence in Cyprus, before a viable solution to the Cyprus problem is reached.