Warm relations between Lakers, Warriors can be traced to their coaches

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe warm relations between the two Western Conference rivals can be traced to their coaches. Walton won a championship as an assistant on Kerr’s staff in 2015 and his success as the interim coach likely accelerated his path to the Lakers’ head coaching gig two summers ago.The two have remained close, speaking throughout the season.“He’s still pretty close with a lot of our players,” Kerr said. “He’ll ask about our guys and we toss around a few things but yeah, that’s just normal stuff.”Said Walton: “The times we’ve spoken this year have been more about life things than basketball things. But if I feel the need, I still feel like he’s definitely someone that I will trust and value his opinion on how to get something done.”YOUNG WARRIORNick Young appeared in 220 games for the Lakers, but when he made his first appearance since signing a one-year, $5.2 million contract with Golden State in the offseason, he received a surprising welcome. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error He was booed.“Nick’s terrible,” Walton joked before the game. “Hopefully Steve puts him on the court tonight so we can kill him.”A fan favorite when playing for his hometown Lakers, Young resurrected his career in his fourth season with the Lakers, emerging as the team’s starting shooting guard and their best perimeter defender.It earned him a new deal with Golden State, but Walton knew it would likely take some time for the 3-point specialist to acclimate to a championship system.“I figured … his shooting would fit right in and his personality would fit right in,” Walton said. “The idea of how they play when you don’t have the ball in your hands and what they’re trying to do, I figured would take some time for him to get an understanding of.”Young is averaging 6.7 points for the Warriors and poured in a season-high 23 points in the season opener against Houston.“From what I’ve watched he’s still finding his way up there,” Walton said. “It’s a very different way of basketball than what Nick’s used to. … He’s figuring out the way that they get it done up there.”While Young’s role is diminished with a better team, he still seems to be making the same impact in the locker room.“He’s been great,” Kerr said. “I love Nick. He’s a joy to be around, he always has a smile on his face and is picking up what we try to do. He’s getting there. Much further along than he was in training camp.”KUZMA SITSKyle Kuzma has been one of the Lakers’ bright spots to start the season, but he was held out Wednesday due to back spasms he experienced during pregame warmups.It was the first time the 27th overall pick missed a game in his young career. Through 20 games, including 11 starts, the former University of Utah star has averaged 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.center_img LOS ANGELES — The night started with a practical joke.A Warriors public relations executive placed a sheet of paper on the dais where Luke Walton addresses the media pregame. The header on the page read: “All-Time Warriors’ Interim Head Coach Winning List.”It had two entries. “First” was Warriors assistant and former Lakers head coach Mike Brown, who went 12-0 with the Warriors last season. “Last” was Walton, whose 39-4 record in 2016-17 while Steve Kerr was sidelined by health issues, was good for only a .906 winning percentage.Walton smirked at the joke before saying, “They all go to Steve anyway.”last_img read more