Jordan Hill is still able to help the Lakers
Call them the Little Three.
The Lakers would love Jordan Hill, Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks to add whatever they can, and then some, while awaiting the return of Metta World Peace.
It was nothing flashy, but Hill had six points and 10 rebounds Tuesday in Game 2 of the Lakers’ 104-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets. He also had a blocked shot in the fourth quarter that led to a fastbreak dunk for Ramon Sessions.
It came a day after he was charged with a third-degree felony for allegedly choking his girlfriend in Houston two months ago.
Hill, 24, did not have to appear in court Monday in Houston, and the Lakers didn’t expect him to miss any games.
Hill was with the Rockets at the time of the alleged dispute and could face up to 10 years in prison.
“When I got the phone call, I was definitely shocked, just like everybody else was,” Hill said in a brief interview Tuesday with reporters before the game.
He seemed similarly surprised earlier in the day on his Twitter account.
“I wish I would let somebody hold me down from succeeding..truth will come out sooner or later,” he wrote, adding, “but right now..I want a ring..it’s GAMETIME.”
Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he spoke with Hill briefly about the criminal charges.
“I don’t know what’s in his mind. I don’t think it will affect him,” Brown said.
Ebanks kept starting at small forward while World Peace continued to serve a suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City guard James Harden. World Peace will sit four more games, but his suspension won’t carry over to next season.
Ebanks wasn’t able to match his 12-point outburst in the first half of Game 1.
He was in early foul trouble Tuesday and finished with four points and eight rebounds.
The Lakers don’t need that much from him in the first place. He has been shuffled in and out of the starting lineup at different parts of the season. He also spent three games in the Development League.
“He doesn’t have to go out of the box too much when he starts with those other four guys,” Brown said. “He just has to be a presence defensively and try not to make too many mistakes.
“We’re not necessarily counting on him to go get us 12 to 15 points a game. If he does, then great.”
Barnes had only two points and made one of five shots in his second game back from a sprained right ankle. He has made only two of 12 shots in the series.
San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich was selected NBA coach of the year by a panel of 119 media members, a move applauded by Brown.
“In my opinion he should have a gazillion of them,” said Brown, who spent three seasons as an assistant under Popovich in San Antonio. “Everybody always talks about big market/small market.
“He’s done a heck of a job getting that thing headed in the right direction year after year after year after everybody writes them off.”
Brown finished ninth in the voting. He had a second-place vote and a third-place vote.
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