Through every Lakers’ win, his electric play and infectious personality brings smiles to everyone’s face. Through every Lakers’ loss, his emotions and scoring outbursts still provide some feel-good moments.
But Nick Young offered none of those qualities in the Lakers’ 99-87 loss on Sunday to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. For the first time in his two years with the Lakers, Young experienced a new low point. He went scoreless. He took only two field-goal attempts. He committed three turnovers. He only played eight minutes, 32 seconds, and sat out the entire second half.
“It looked to me to be honest with you that he didn’t want to be there,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Young. “That’s how all I looked at it.”
After spending most of his seven-year NBA career never meeting a camera and tape recorder he didn’t like, Young also didn’t want to be in the locker room. Young left without speaking to reporters despite leaving a few cell phones and few pair of sneakers by his locker.
Scott had threatened in the past week that he would reduce Young’s playing time if he didn’t compensate a recent shooting slump with better effort on defense and developing the rest of his game. But that threat never materialized and Young responded enough to Scott’s call.
Not against the Rockets, though.
Young left the game with 7:13 remaining in the second quarter. He never returned to the court, marking the fewest minutes he played since appearing in only nine minutes on Dec. 21, 2012 with the Philadelphia 76ers.
At halftime, Scott reported showing Young a failed defensive coverage that allowed Rockets guard Corey Brewer to make a corner three-pointer midway through the first quarter.
“I was asking him, ‘What were you thinking on this play?'” Scott said. “The answer he gave me, I couldn’t figure it out. I just felt with his body language that he didn’t want to play tonight. So I chose not to play him.”