Luke Walton tells Lakers center Brook Lopez his minutes against Knicks were ‘unfortunate’

August 17, 2020

first_imgANIMATED RESPONSEWalton was far from surprised to learn Tuesday morning that Kobe Bryant’s animated short, “Dear Basketball” had been nominated for an Academy Award.“From what I’ve been told,” Walton said, “he works as hard on that stuff as he did as a player and he stays extremely busy doing all that. When he puts his mind to things, he’s obviously pretty good at finishing.”Walton played with Bryant from 2003-12, winning championships in 2009 and 2010.The Lakers showed the six-minute film during the halftime ceremony to retire Bryant’s jerseys on Dec. 18. Adapted from the poem Bryant wrote to fans when he announced his retirement in 2015, “Dear Basketball” was put in motion by longtime Disney animator Glen Keane and set to a score composed by Oscar winner John Williams.In December, the film was short-listed for an Oscar, and when it was mentioned to him that he could add the gold statuette synonymous with Hollywood prestige to his already teeming trophy case, Bryant told the Southern California News Group, “Just you saying that sounds ridiculous.”After Tuesday, it’s one step closer to reality.ZO IT GOESAs head-scratching as Lonzo Ball’s recovery has perhaps been, Walton insisted on Tuesday that the rookie point guard has suffered “no setbacks” since suffering a “minor” sprained left knee more than a week earlier.Ball will travel with the Lakers on their upcoming five-game trip, but Walton maintained his stance that he knows little else about the timeline of the injury.“No expectations,” Walton said. “When he’s healthy he’ll play.”Ball underwent an MRI in Memphis on Jan. 14, and has not undergone additional tests since then, Walton said. He was back on the treadmill Tuesday, continuing the progress he made over the weekend.“Just they did their MRI,” he said. “Their doctors got their hands on him, did the manual stuff. Besides that, he’s on the treatment program to get back to playing again.”PARK THE BUSSLakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss doubled down on her commitment to Walton, telling ESPN that Walton will remain the Lakers coach “period.”Appearing on “Buckets,” Buss was asked by host Cassidy Hubbarth if Walton would be the Lakers’ coach through next summer, a pivotal offseason in which the organization is expected to pursue elite All-Stars such as LeBron James and Paul George.“Absolutely,” Buss said. “Luke Walton is the Lakers coach, period. There’s no worrying about it, there’s no speculation. He’s done a terrific job. He is somebody that the entire front office, the organization is behind.”Buss has twice taken to Twitter and used the hashtag #InLukeWeTrust after criticisms from LaVar Ball and a report that the franchise could turn to former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale if a change was made. LOS ANGELES — Brook Lopez is in a situation unique to his 10-year career.His 21.2 minutes and 11.7 points per game are career-lows and there are nights when he barely impacts the game. Before scoring 14 points on Sunday, Lopez had gone five straight games without scoring in double figures.This from a player who has averaged better than 20 points five times in his career, including last season with Brooklyn. He was back in that rhythm on Sunday, until he was taken out of it.Lopez scored 11 points in the first quarter, but after that flurry was limited to just five more minutes on the court as the Lakers cruised to a 127-107 victory. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I told him it was unfortunate the way the game played out with his total minutes,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said, “but he did a great job of getting us going early, especially when it was just both teams scoring freely. Those shots he hit gave us some good confidence in that game and then the way that it played out.”In the second half, Walton stuck with a group that included Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., which found defensive success.“We stuck with our smaller bigs,” Walton said. “He was fine with it. Brook’s a solid veteran NBA player, so I think especially when he’s knocking down those shots he stabilizes our young group a lot.”He remains an important figure around the Lakers, however, with Walton citing Lopez’s work ethic as setting a standard for his young teammates.“Brook’s always the first one in here,” Walton said. “Brook’s in here before the lights are on most days so nobody’s going to beat him on that.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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