Very few bright spots came out of the Lakers’ 99-91 season-opening loss Tuesday to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers went 12 of 31 from the free throw line. Even with a full training camp, the Lakers looked mostly lost running their revamped offense that included elements of the Princeton system. Against a team lacking Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman, the Lakers allowed Dallas to muscle them inside with 46 points in the paint. Don’t even get started about the bench. That unit was outscored 37-17.
Aside from Kobe Bryant scoring 22 points on a strained right foot, there was one other bright spot.
Lakers reserve forward Jordan Hill posted nine points on 4 of 9 shooting and five rebounds in 14 minutes after sitting out Monday’s practice because of the herniated disk in his back.
“It’s getting better,” Hill told this newspaper. “It’s hard when you go out and play hard and when you sit on the bench without doing anything, it will stiffen up on you. I have to stay active, riding treadmills and try to do something to keep it loose.”
Hill originally hurt his back in the Lakers’ preseason opener Oct. 7 against Golden State in Fresno. It prompted the Lakers to keep him out of the lineup for six preseason games. Yet, even when he returned in the Lakers’ preseason finale last week, Hill said the Lakers kept him out of Monday’s session just as a preventative measure.
Still, once Hill returned to the court in the Lakers’ season opener, he held nothing back. Hill provided endless amounts of energy. He was one of the lone players trying on defense. For a bench lacking much of an identity, Hill at least showed consistency.
AS with everything regarding the Lakers, though, Hill’s effort wasn’t perfect. He shot one of six from the free-throw line.
“It was just an off night,” Hill said. “We have to take our time next time, aim for the back rim and let it go. That could be a part, definitely on my part. I missed five or six that were in and out. You have to keep shooting, take your time and aim for that rim.”
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