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Pacific Notes: Walton, Randle, Durant, Kings

New coach Luke Walton has the Lakers loving basketball, and it was enough to get the better of his former team Friday night, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com. L.A. adopted “I love basketball” as its new slogan after Metta World Peace said it in during a game this week. It sums up the youthful enthusiasm that Walton has promoted since the Lakers hired him away from the Warriors this summer. “They’re in there laughing, having fun, and that’s the way you should feel like when you put that much effort into something,” Walton said. “That’s why it’s so much fun at the end of the day, because it wasn’t easy and guys are dead tired in there.”

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Walton has been showing clips of Golden State All-Star Draymond Green to Julius Randle, according to Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Walton sees similarities in their games because of Randle’s playmaking abilities, athleticism and strength. The new coach calls Randle a “monster,” and the third-year forward has responded with 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds through the season’s first six games while shooting 59.3% from the field. “He brings a lot of energy and talks a lot. It brings energy for the guys,” Brandon Ingram said of Randle. “He’s a competitor and is not scared of anyone on the court. When he gets in between the lines, it’s us against everyone else.”
  • Kevin Durant acknowledges “the ghost of your past” that was hanging over his first meeting with the Thunder, but tells Michael Lee of The Vertical that disappeared quickly once Thursday’s game began. Durant posted a season-high 39 points in the blowout of his former team. There were few confrontations, other than some obvious trash talking with backup center Enes Kanter, who took some shots at Durant on Twitter after he signed with Golden State. Durant and OKC star Russell Westbrook barely had any interaction. “It’s something I’m never going to forget. Something that’s never going to go away,” Durant said of his time in Oklahoma City. “I’m just trying to move forward, look forward, but also realize how important the past was and that formed me into who I am today. I’m not throwing that part of my life in the trash. But now I’m on to something new, trying to keep growing in this situation, trying to keep getting better overall, as a basketball player, man, everything. Just keep moving forward, that’s the most important thing in my life.”
  • The Kings added a group of veteran free agents over the offseason, but they’re still losing games because of rookie-type errors, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “The [mistakes] that are self-inflicted are the worst ones,” said new coach Dave Joerger. “What I told them is we’re not a young, young team. We should know better. Veterans or guys that are mid-veterans, we should make some smarter plays.”

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