Visibly frustrated D’Angelo Russell refuses to discuss Rui Hachimura’s role in 2nd half of Lakers-Kings game

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

D’Angelo Russell was visibly frustrated when asked to address Rui Hachimura’s limited involvement in the second half of the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Hachimura scored 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting playing more than 17 minutes in the first half, which ended with the Lakers trailing 60-56. Despite playing more than 18 minutes in the second half, he scored just three points — on his only field-goal attempt — and Los Angeles wound up losing 120-107.

It should be noted that the Lakers had 46 field-goal attempts in the first half and were limited to just 32 over the final two quarters. They hoisted 17 3-point attempts in the second half after taking 15 in the first two frames.

Russell could have been even more disappointed with his own performance as he contributed just six points in the game and shot 0-for-6 in the first half.

Two games prior, he erupted for 44 points in a win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Since then, he has scored a total of 19 points in two games while shooting 33.3 percent from the field (7-for-21).

Hachimura finished Wednesday’s loss with 20 points and has scored at least that many three times in six games this month, when he is shooting over 58 percent from the field.

The Lakers had won three of four and five of seven prior to the loss, which was their second to the Kings in a week. Those setbacks have blunted the Lakers’ attempt to climb out of a play-in position into a playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

Los Angeles sits in ninth place in the conference with a 36-31 record, three games behind Sacramento for sixth place and the last playoff position.

But time may be running out for the Lakers, who have 15 games to go in the final month of the regular season. They likely will need more consistent play from both Hachimura and Russell to be capable of making a late-season run to avoid having to compete in the play-in round for a second consecutive year.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.