— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 7, 2014
Teamwork at its finest.
Stay up to day with the latest news, updates, and press conferences from your Los Angeles Lakers.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 7, 2014
Teamwork at its finest.
Meeks played a minute-and-a-half before leaving for good after going up for a jump shot and landing on Corey Brewer’s foot. Postgame, coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged the shooting guard would be miss the final two games of the road trip at Cleveland and at Philadelphia.
Jodie Meeks sprained his right ankle, coming down on Brewer's foot, and will not return. Blake has 2 PF's, Young's playing SG.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 5, 2014
With a cervical strain and headache, Jordan Hill will not return tonight. LAL get Blake and Nash back, lose Meeks and Hill.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 5, 2014
Hill was on the floor for three-and-a-half minutes before being elbowed by teammate Chris Kaman. D’Antoni stated postgame the team held him out the rest of the game for precautionary reasons. His status is uncertain for Wednesday’s contest at Cleveland.
Both Meeks and Hill are the only Lakers to appear in all 48 games thus far this season.
One of the more pressing questions coach Mike D’Antoni faced early in the season was figuring out a set rotation. Through the first eight games, the Lakers used five different starting units, while 11 players averaged at least 15 minutes. Against New Orleans, the coaching staff once again shook up the lineup again, inserting Jordan Hill at the starting four spot.
“We switched up the lineup to get a little more energy in there,” D’Antoni said pregame. “He brings energy and hopefully we can start off a little (better).”
Hill responded with a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in his first start to key the Lakers 116-95 win that night. In Sunday’s 114-89 win against Detroit, he posted new career-highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds against a frontcourt that featured 7-footer Andre Drummond, 6-foot-11 Greg Monroe and 6-foot-9 Josh Smith.
“That’s just will and effort,” Wesley Johnson said of Hill’s rebounding ability. “I know that he has a nose for the ball and he definitely doesn’t stop.”
In four starts this year, the Arizona product is averaging 18.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on 61.7 percent field goals. According to NBA.com/stats, the 6-foot-10 forward has converted on 69.2 percent of his attempts from eight feet and in. And in a small sample size, Hill is 3 for 6 on jump shots from 16-24 feet, something he’s acknowledged he worked on during the offseason.
“Tremendous,” Kobe Bryant said of Hill’s play thus far. “He really worked hard this summer and got himself into good shape and shed some weight. He has a knack for the ball and is great around the rim. He has a great touch on the low post and a great touch on the perimeter. He’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Aside from his individual statistics, Hill’s play has aided in an improvement on the defensive end for the Lakers. In the last four games, opponents are averaging 98.5 points on 43.0 percent shooting compared to the first eight games where teams put up 106.5 points per game on 46.4 percent field goals. Along with Hill, the continuity in the lineup the last four games has played a key role in the team’s defensive success.
“Playing Jordan Hill gives us a little more length at the four,” D’Antoni said. “And guys are starting to get into rotations and how we do things without thinking so much that it becomes a habit, and that way you can react quicker and they react quicker to the ball and different situations. As a young team, that takes time, but it’s starting to settle in a little bit. Hopefully we can keep on that right path.”
With Bryant’s return on the horizon as he continues to practice with the team, the forward maintains he’ll continue to do what he does best: rebound and bring energy to the court. D’Antoni believes that his recent string of success is not a fluke.
“(He’s) not only (bringing) energy, but he’s averaging (a double-double),” D’Antoni said. “He’s playing at an All-Star level. What he’s doing is remarkable. There’s no reason why he can’t keep that up.”
Such a bruise can be painful to deal with, but will not keep Hill off the court; the Lakers confirmed he will play in Tuesday evening’s game at Dallas.
Despite averaging only 14 minutes per game, Hill has been very useful off the bench, especially on the glass. In fact, Hill currently leads the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage (23.3 percent), while his teammate Pau Gasol is atop the NBA in defensive board percentage (38.3). Overall, they rank fourth and fifth in total rebound percentage (21.7 and 21.4).
According to @BSports, nine of Hill’s 13 offensive boards thus far have come in the fourth quarter, which easily leads the NBA. Hill is also hitting 73.3 percent of his shots, leading the NBA, in a small sample size off 11 makes in 15 attempts.
The question for Hill moving forward is how much time he can get on the court when Mike D’Antoni prefers playing him at center … which is also the preferred spot for Gasol (26 minutes per game, sure to go up) and Chris Kaman (16.5 minutes per game). Against Atlanta, Gasol played 27:41, Kaman 16:03 and Hill 13:36, with Shawne Williams playing 17:44 as the starting power forward and Wesley Johnson 20:56 at the backup 4 and 3. Hill did close the game alongside Gasol in the front court. D’Antoni has praised Hill’s effort and indicated he’d like to play him more minutes, but still generally prefers to utilize Williams and Johnson at the 4 to better space the floor with the threat of a three-point shot.
“The players will determine that, and the team will determine that,” D’Antoni said of his rotation. “As one group plays better, then we’ll do it. I don’t think we’re at that point where we can determine what’s the best yet.”
Or, in Gasol’s words: “We’re a deep roster and Mike is utilizing a lot of the guys. There’s different factors. I like Jordan (Hill) to get more minutes and Chris (Kaman) to get more minutes. Even though it might not be perfect for the system and spacing, (Hill’s) energy and effort makes up for a lot of things.”
Hill has kept it more simple, saying he’d clearly like to be on the floor as much as possible, and is going to play the same way no matter what. Meanwhile, he and the Lakers will knock on wood that Hill’s knee doesn’t become any more problematic, and the pain remains manageable.
A common question throughout training camp will be who starts alongside Pau Gasol. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has yet to delve into specifics, but noted how both Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman could complement the 7-foot Spaniard.
“Pau can play with anybody,” D’Antoni said. “He’s so skilled that he makes everybody look good with his passing. You can play Jordan who is more of a runner and slasher or you can play Kaman who is more of a catch-and-shoot kind of guy. They’ll all fit in real well together.”
Hill, who underwent surgery on his left hip and missed 53 games last year, noted he’s more confident in his jump shot from 15-17 feet now, but will largely focus on what he’s provided for the team in limited playing time.
“Pau and Chris are great, great big men,” Hill said. “They can score. I’m not looking to score as much as they are. I’m going to still do what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here – rebounding, defending, a lot of energy and running the floor.”
The focus hasn’t just been on the offensive side of the ball, but also on the other end. Looking ahead, the coaching staff believes it’ll be a collective effort this season, and Hill remains optimistic everybody is up for the challenge.
“We just have to help each other out,” Hill said. “That was our problem last season. Not everybody was on the same page last season. We just have to buckle down this year.”
As for Kaman, he’s a career 48.5 percent shooter, and someone who can space the floor. Last season in Dallas, Kaman converted on 51.4 percent of his shots from 15-19 feet. But with three practices under their belt, the Michigan native doesn’t foresee how the three bigs will mesh just yet and doesn’t want to get too ahead of himself.
“At this point, it’s still undetermined what the lineups are going to be,” Kaman said. “Who knows what the lineup will be, who knows if we’ll go big or small. For me, learning this offense is an adjustment. A lot of my stuff has been slow down and half court. This is more transition, open court, pick-and-roll, dives. There’s going to be an adjustment period for a lot of guys, but I feel pretty comfortable so far.”
Jordan Hill started one game and appeared in 29 towards averages of 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds on 49.7 percent field goals. A left hip injury that required surgery caused him to miss the remaining 53 contests.
Hill was cleared for basketball-related activity after Game 1 of L.A.’s first round playoff series, returning to the court three months ahead of the projected timetable recovery. He recorded a total of 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes in three postseason contests.
Below is a summary of his exit interview:
- On how his hip feels now and his return to the court three months earlier than expected after undergoing hip surgery on Jan. 23: “I feel great. Probably was a smart thing to keep it rested, but I felt good about it and I just wanted to play, definitely in the playoffs.” The hip may not recover to be fully 100 percent of what it was since he had the surgery, but it should get very close. That can be said of any surgery, really, and it’s Hill’s job to strengthen around the area so that his game is unaffected. Right now, Hill said the hip is at 80 to 85 percent. During practices and games, it could tighten up, but he had no pain. Hill also stated he’ll go back to Tennessee for a follow up visit with his surgeon. Hill also suffered a herniated disc in the preseason, but said that was not an issue as the season went on.
- On the season as a whole: “There were a lot of injuries. We did whatever we had to do, and kept our head high. There was a lot of turmoil and we did a great job of handling it well.” Hill believes the team has all the pieces to make a run next season, but admits – like everybody else – injuries took its toll on the club. It wasn’t necessarily the way he envisioned the season going, but he was proud of the way the guys fought.
- Hill was asked about what his best position is, depending upon what system the Lakers put in next season (if D’Antoni has a chance to put in his preferred offense, traditionally featuring one big man and a stretch four). He didn’t have a specific answer, saying this: “I just want to play … rebound, defend, shoot the ball: just put me out there and let me go to work.”
Hill, who had surgery on his left hip on Jan. 23 that included removal of loose fragments, repair of a torn labrum and a microfracture procedure to repair damaged cartilage, was expected to be out for the season.
Instead, he has steadily progressed, participating in contact drills throughout the week with no setbacks. As such, the training staff cleared him for game action.
Whether or not he plays in Game 2 will be a coaching decision, but look for him to certainly see the court soon. Hill will most likely be used as a backup center/power forward, allowing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol additional rest, while competing for minutes with Earl Clark.
Hill averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Lakers in 29 games.
Lakers reserve big man Jordan Hill, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip on Jan. 23, has been cleared to start running on an Alter G treadmill at 70 percent of his body weight on Friday.
Hill was examined by Dr. Byrd – who performed the surgery – in Nashville over the past two days, where it was determined that he’s made enough progress to ramp up activities. If there are no setbacks, Hill will be allowed to get to 100 percent of his body weight on the treadmill, at which point he’ll be cleared for full weight-bearing running and jumping.
Subsequently, he’ll be allowed to begin on-court basketball drills.
The team has put a timeline of 3-4 weeks after that process before Hill would be ready to resume playing in games.
Hill averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Lakers in 29 games of action.
The Lakers went through a tough Texas two-step without their top three big men, as Dwight Howard (shoulder), Pau Gasol (concussion) and Jordan Hill (hip) could only watch losses to Houston and San Antonio.
When will they respectively return?
Gasol saw Dr. Vern Williams on Thursday, and while the Spaniard showed improvement, he is still not cleared to play basketball. Gasol will be examined once again on Friday morning, in advance of the team’s Friday evening home game against Oklahoma City.
Howard told reporters before Tuesday’s game in Houston that he’s hoping to return soon, and will not need surgery, for his shoulder injury. However, the team does not want him to rush back and risk further injury.
“(The doctor) doesn’t want me to continue to aggravate it every night, because that could cause problems later on in the season,” Howard said. “Or it could come to the point where somebody fouled me hard enough and it could (further injure the shoulder), so (we don’t) want that to happen.”
Howard will be re-evaluated next week, but he’s definitely out for Friday’s game against the Thunder.
Jordan Hill will also be re-evaluated early next week after an MRI earlier this week revealed a small tear to the labrum of his left hip. He’ll be treated conservatively, according to the team.
In the meantime, we’ll see more Robert Sacre and Earl Clark, who both offered bright spots on the two-game trip in relief duty. Clark, with his career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, may have just played his way into the rotation even when all three bigs return.
Hill will be treated conservatively, and re-evaluated in one week.
L.A.’s first big man off the bench of late had been very effective, averaging 10.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in about 18 minutes per contest in L.A.’s last five games.