Byron Scott benched D’Angelo Russell for ‘trying to take over’
Lakers coach Byron Scott benched D’Angelo Russell on Tuesday night for a rather unusual reason.
With two and a half minutes to go and the Lakers down two, Scott put Russell back on the bench for what he called “trying to take over the game.”
“I saw the last couple minutes that he was in that he was really trying to take over the game, and that’s not him yet,” Scott said, via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. “I want the ball to move a little bit. I thought it stuck with him. He tried to make the big shots and things like that. I understand that, but to me, that’s not him right now.
“He’s been more aggressive to score. I think sometimes he’s taking what they’re giving him, and I think there’s other times where I think he’s kind of forcing the issue. He has to find a happy medium. He’s learning.”
Scott also said that Russell is in danger of letting his confidence evolve into cockiness.
“I love the fact that he has confidence,” Scott said. “When it gets to the point where it’s cockiness, then we’ve got a problem. I think he’s pretty close. I don’t think he’s there. I just think he feels right now that he’s got a lot of confidence in himself. Like I said, that’s a good thing. You don’t get this far without having that. And sometimes you don’t get this far without having a little cockiness, as well. But you don’t want that to overshadow the confidence that he has.
“I think when you get cocky, you’re thinking that there’s nothing that you can’t do. And if you think that, then you stop working.”
Russell, for his part, defended himself, saying he was just taking what the defense was giving him.
“I feel like I was taking advantage of what they were giving me,” Russell said. “It was a small split window of taking a shot or passing it up with a shot-clock violation on the line. It was always in my hands and I had to take a shot. I missed it. I don’t know if [Scott] would’ve said that if I was making those shots.”