Heading into Friday’s home tilt with the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers used the eight-day All-Star break to get as healthy as possible.
Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Julius Randle are, of course, out for the year, but the remainder of L.A.’s roster is prepared for the final 29 games of the season.
Jordan Hill (hip flexor strain) and Nick Young (left pereonal tendon strain) are ready to play against the Nets, having both practiced on Wednesday and Thursday. Wayne Ellington, who sat out Wednesday’s practice due to gastroenteritis, should be available on Friday.
“Wayne did everything (at practice Thursday),” head coach Byron Scott said. “Didn’t show any ill effects from being sick yesterday; went up and down the floor extremely well. I expect him to start and play tomorrow.”
Hill’s injury was the most nagging among the three players, as he missed the Lakers’ last five games after exiting in the first quarter of their Feb. 1 contest against the New York Knicks.
Prior to that game, Hill had been playing some of the best basketball of his career. The six-year pro is averaging career highs in scoring (12.3), rebounds (8.0), assists (1.4) and free throw percentage (76.0), though he is also shooting his lowest clip from the field (47.6).
“(Hill) looked good today,” Scott said. “He said yesterday was a little harder on his body than he expected, and I told him today we were not going to be as hard. He got through it today as well. We��ll see how he feels tomorrow, but I expect him to pretty much play the way he played before he got hurt. And he was playing extremely well for us.
“Sometimes in games, we’re gonna feature him in the post because he’s our best post-up player that we have. And we’ve got to get him going to get us going.”
Young, meanwhile, has slumped through the 2015 calendar year, averaging just 12.0 points on 31.6 percent shooting from the field, including a 27.4 percent clip on 3-pointers. The Los Angeles native hopes that the All-Star break will help him break out of his slide.
“With this little break that we had, I think that that helped me a lot,” Young said. “Just being around good people — around my family — get my mind right and talking and enjoying myself.”
Scott, who wants Young to learn to move better without the ball and take smarter shots, is also aiming to help the 29-year-old get back into form.
“(We’re) just trying to get him involved and get that shot going,” Scott said. “Hopefully that break has kind of got him to go back to the old Nick where he’s making shots on a consistent basis. That’s what we’re looking to get out of him for the next 29 games.”