LOS ANGELES — Wins haven’t come easy for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and Sunday wasn’t any different as Jordan Hill‘s career-high 28 points helped lead his team past the lowly Orlando Magic 103-94.
Despite Pau Gasol sitting out the second half due to dizziness and becoming nauseous, Hill and Young stepped up in his absence as they scored a combined 29 points in the second half to give their team the necessary offensive lift.
With much back and forth action heading into the final quarter of play and a two point lead, Nick Young lead the way off the bench as he scored 13 of his 26 points that included a huge 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a seven-point advantage at 94-87 with 3:23 left in the contest. From that point on the Lakers retained control of the game as the Magic did not get any closer than six points for the remainder for the fourth quarter.
” (I have to) keep attacking, keep staying aggressive,” Hill said. “My mindset out there is that no one can keep me off the offensive boards and nobody can keep me from the rim.”
It was also a second consecutive impressive performance by the 26-year-old in as many games since returning to the floor from a sore right knee, which he credits to the rest he received as he missed six games due the injury.
“Rest definitely helps,” Hill said, who had his third career 20-point and 10-rebound effort on Sunday. “I felt like I could jump over the gym or jump over anything. I felt more mobile and more able to move quicker. I am definitely not struggling to get rebounds and I able to move my feet on defense, so definitely rest helped me a lot.”
Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni was not only satisfied by Hill’s career-best night, but also the play of his teammates such as Kent Bazemore, who dished out a career-high eight assists with no turnovers.
“Jordan played well,” D’Antoni said of the his team that snapped a four-game skid on Sunday. “Obviously he got his career high in points and everything else, but he played well. I though a lot of guys played well tonight, he probably led the pack. I though Kent Bazemore played one of his better games. He had something like eight assists and no turnovers which is what he needs to do.”
Young also played a major factor in Sunday’s win, as he had his second straight 20-plus point output in as many games since returning from a left knee injury.
“I’m trying to lead the team with energy and play as hard as I can like Jordan [Hill] played today,” Young said. “That’s what we need every night. We need to bring the same intensity.”
Los Angeles began the night to a hot as they raced out a 16-6 lead and forced Orlando to commit seven turnovers in the opening quarter. Despite the fact that the Lakers shot 52 percent and went 4-of-7 from 3-point range, the Magic finished the quarter strong as they closed the gap to just five behind 53 percent shooting from the field.
After Tobias Harris scored the first six points of the second quarter that gave Orlando a 30-29 lead, Los Angeles responded with a 17-2 run to take a 14-point lead at 46-32. For the remainder of the quarter, the Lakers held a double-digit lead due in large part to eight of Hill’s team-high 14 points in the first half to go along with six rebounds. Young also chipped with 11 points.
In Sunday’s win over the Magic, Gasol did not leave the locker room after halftime as he dealt with dizziness and nausea in which he received three liters of IV fluids and stayed overnight in the hospital as a precautionary measure.
“Just what I hear, he couldn’t come out,” D’Antoni said. “He was dizzy in the first half, and went back in the dressing room. I think they were trying to give him an IV or something but he just couldn’t go.”
Gasol is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game at Staples Center against the New York Knicks, and if he misses any time expect Robert Sacre to take his place in the starting lineup.
He scored six points on 3-of-7 shooting to go along with two rebounds, and three assists in 19 minutes in the first half.
Photo Credit: AP