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Western Notes: Russell, Adams, Tucker

A breakout performance by D’Angelo Russell during Sunday night’s preseason game against the Nuggets may bode well for the Lakers‘ future as the team still seeks an identity, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. “It means a lot,” Russell said about scoring a game-high 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting in about 32 minutes. “We don’t want to go through losing seasons. We don’t want to go through rebuilding as an excuse of losing. We’re rebuilding, but we still find a way to win games, and we’re capable. We have the pieces. We don’t have an All-Star guy or anything like that. Hopefully some potential [All-Star] guys, but we’re taking everything serious.

Yeah, the thing with us right now is, we don’t have an identity,” Russell continued. “Other teams, they have star players. They’ve got glue guys. They know what they’re capable of. [The] same teams are showing up in the playoffs at the end of the year no matter how the season goes. We don’t have an identity right now, so it’s all about taking everything serious — taking every preseason [game], every practice, everything we do is serious when we’re trying to identify ourselves.

Here’s more from out West:

  • There is no timetable yet for when Steven Adams will return to action after spraining his right ankle last week, with the Thunder still saying the center is day-to-day, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes. “I don’t think that they feel like he’s close to playing right now, so I don’t want to rule him out for Dallas [on Tuesday night] because I don’t know,” coach Billy Donovan said “It’s kind of been, see what happens the next day [and] how he’s feeling. But clearly he’s done more today than he has the last couple days, which is good.
  • As P.J. Tucker makes his return from back surgery, his focus is not on his impending free agency after the season, but on helping the Suns make it to the postseason, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “This might be the most highly motivated year I’ve had in my career,” Tucker said. “People tend to think you get comfortable because you’ve been on a team so long. I’m pushing myself. I’ve been on the sideline pushing my teammates. I’ve been here a long time and I haven’t made the playoffs yet. It may be a contract year, but more than anything, I want to make playoffs. That’s the only thing I’m thinking about right now.”

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