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Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell and shooting guard Nick Young participated in all of Friday’s shootaround that included full-court non-contact work and 5-on-0 drills. In both drills the players showed progress with their cutting.Both Young and Russell could return as early as Monday in Sacramento as part of the beginning of a seven-game trip. If both players cannot practice fully on Saturday or need more practices before receiving medical clearances to play, the Lakers face some logistical challenges. The Lakers will fly to New York on Tuesday before Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn. That leaves the Lakers with a possible practice on Thursday before Friday’s game in Philadelphia.Nonetheless, Walton said he could schedule some 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 full-contact sessions for Russell and/or Young to evaluate their readiness to return.“We need to see them go live and competitive,” Walton said, “and really cut and fight over screens before we let them out there.”With those absences, the Lakers were on pace to lose early. But then Williams came into the third quarter and changed everything. After the Lakers went 2-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half, it took Williams only 90 seconds in the third quarter to make three of them. He also converted on a four-point play that entailed making one of two fouls shots and then making a 3-pointer off of Thomas Robinson’s rebound.That gave the Lakers a fighting chance, until their deeply rooted issues emerged again. LOS ANGELES >> The main sources of the Lakers’ prolific offense have stayed confined to the training room and the bench. The Lakers’ starting lineup has changed almost by the game. The Lakers’ defense rarely has existed.But through the Lakers’ recent struggles, one significant source of stability has stayed the same. After spending nearly all season impressing the Lakers with his high-volume efficiency and frequent trips to the foul line, Lou Williams fulfilled that same job description once again.The Lakers still fell to the Phoenix Suns in a 115-110 loss on Friday at Staples Center that secured their fifth consecutive defeat. Williams could not draw a four-point play on the final possession, let alone make a 3-pointer as time expired. Williams missed another key 3-pointer as the Lakers trailed 117-113 with 11 seconds remaining. Yet, Williams’ presence prevented the Lakers from falling apart completely.He scored 35 points on 10-of-17 shooting in what marked the third game this season he logged at least 30 points. Williams posted 14 points in the final quarter as the Lakers cut an 18-point deficit to within single digits. And Williams forced Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe into a shot clock violation as the Lakers trailed 115-110 with 26.4 seconds left. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error But eventually, the Lakers other issues became too strong to ignore.Despite coach Luke Walton’s heavy emphasis on the concept since training camp, the Lakers slipped again defensively as they allowed Eric Bledsoe (24 points), Leandro Barbosa (19), Devin Booker (15), Alex Len (14), Brandon Knight (14) to log double digits.Though Lakers rookie forward Brandon Ingram made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 115-113 with 17 seconds left, he appeared ineffective in another start at point guard. He had nine points on a 3-of-8 clip.Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson (14 points), (Julius Randle (14) and Timofey Mozgov (10) combined for 14-of-38 shooting.Fortunately for the Lakers, help might be on the way soon.
Rep. Don Young speaks at an Arctic symposium in Washington, D.C.Nothing illustrates American disinterest in the Arctic as much as the tiny inventory of U.S. icebreakers: One heavy-duty ship, one medium and one down for repair. Alaska leaders and some federal officials say the country can’t assert its national interests, or see the benefits of increased shipping and resource development in the Arctic, without more icebreakers. But some advocates now say, why buy when you can lease?Download AudioCoast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft sounds a little embarrassed by the state of the icebreaking fleet.“We have eight times the GDP — probably about eight and a half right now — of Russia,” he said. “Russia has a fleet of over 25 ocean-going icebreakers. They’re building six new nuclear icebreaker. And here we are trying to cobble together and maybe reactivate a 37-year-old icebreaker. Because that’s the best we can do.”For years, Alaska’s delegation to Congress has pleaded for money to build a new icebreaker, and they’ve won appropriations of a few million dollars for pre-construction work. But the Coast Guard says it needs six icebreakers, and a single new ship is projected to cost a billion dollars or more, roughly equal to the Coast Guard’s entire capital budget. Alaska Congressman Don Young says next week he’ll offer a bill to promote alternative funding.“This is a problem,” he said at an Arctic symposium in Washington today. “I’ve been trying to get an icebreaker. (Sen.) Lisa Murkowski’s been trying to get an icebreaker. But Congress is not about to appropriate $1 billion, 400 million for an icebreaker. So we have to figure out to get the money either from the Army, the Navy and the Coast Guard … a collective organization together to build us icebreakers.”Young says the government should seek bids from the private sector to build an icebreaker and lease it to the government, with the expense divvied among several agencies. Young says he knows leasing is not the Coast Guard’s top choice.“Everyone wants to own their own ship. That’s, by the way, one of the worst things we could do. You own a boat, you find out how much money you lose on it,” he said. “So if you’ve got somebody that’s going to lease it to you, and maintains it for you to standard, that’s the way I’d go.”Some Coast Guard leaders, over the years, have questioned whether a leased ship is appropriate for frontline government missions, where the Coast Guard is asserting U.S. sovereignty. Admiral Zukunft, the current Coast Guard boss, says the service can’t do as much with a leased ship.“First and foremost, you need to have some degree of agility,” he said.You may need to operate that platform beyond what it was designed to operate in a given year, based on the mission demands that are being placed upon it.”For any lease-or-buy decision — whether it’s a a house, a car or a ship — a key factor is how long you intend to keep the asset. After a certain point, buying has the advantage. Also, Zukunft says, Congressional budget rules essentially charge an agency the whole cost of the lease in the first year.“So from a business case, a lease option right now, does not provide us an optimal return on investment for a platform that quite honestly we’ve proven that we can maintain these for 35 or 40-plus years,” he said.But, as with houses and cars, if you don’t have the money, buying isn’t really an option. Sen. Lisa Murkowski this week plugged an idea of former lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell. He says the United States could join other countries to provide an icebreaker escort service. As he sees it, with Canada, Finland, China, maybe Korea, and maybe Russia, the U.S. could set up regular trans-polar convoys. Treadwell says it requires thinking of the Arctic as a shared business asset, like a jointly owned canal.“Suppose we told the ships of the world, ‘meet us at a Port Clarence every Wednesday at noon. And there’s an icebreaker heading out to a port in Iceland or a port in Norway,’” Treadwell said. “And you might pay a fee like you pay a fee for a canal.”Treadwell’s concept couldn’t stand in for some of the Coast Guard’s government missions, but Murkowski says, maybe it makes sense to focus on the commercial service first.