With Nick Young’s return, Lakers get two wins
The Lakers are on a two-game winning streak, and Nick Young deserves all the credit.
Don’t laugh. Kobe Bryant did only briefly when asked if that was the case.
“Hey, listen, if that’s what’s rolling, that’s what’s rolling. I’ll take it,” he said Wednesday after the Lakers defeated Houston, 98-92. “When you have players that can get buckets and that can create, it does wonders, man.
“Some teams have four, five or six guys that can do that, but Nick is a phenomenal talent. He’s hitting his pull-up jump shot, he’s creating mismatches, he’s working hard defensively. I’m very happy to have him back.”
Young is averaging 16.5 points in two games after missing 10 because of a torn thumb ligament.
He’s not afraid to shoot, and he’s been doing it successfully, picking up quickly after averaging a career-high 17.9 points last season.
“I can’t take all the credit,” Young said. “I’m a guy that relieves pressure off Kobe so they can’t double-team and do all that trapping they’ve been doing on him.”
Bryant wants other Lakers to follow Young’s mind-set too.
Carlos Boozer took only 15 shots against Houston, only part of a successful formula. He made only five attempts, earning a spot on the bench in favor of Young late in the fourth quarter.
Bryant’s shot volume was high again Wednesday (10 for 28) but he’s earnest when he says he doesn’t want to do this on his own.
Jeremy Lin scored only three points against his former team, continuing his up-and-down start with the Lakers.
“The biggest thing for Jeremy is just getting him used to not looking over his shoulder. And just playing and taking shots,” Bryant said. “It’s just something he’s not used to. We talked about it a little bit in the locker room [Wednesday]. It’s refreshing for him to have those messages.”
Lin took only five shots, made one, and committed five turnovers.
“He’s doing good but he could do better,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. “He’s just got to do a much better job of keeping these guys in front of him [on defense]. That’s No. 1.”
Scott also wanted Lin to be more sure of himself while driving to the basket.
“He picks up his dribble, just gets himself in trouble,” Scott said. “Just get a little bit more aware of where he is at all times.”
Young was warned by the NBA for flopping and would be assessed a $5,000 fine for a second offense.
Young drew a foul on Kyle Korver while attempting a three-pointer in his season debut Tuesday against Atlanta. The league announced Thursday that Korver did not make contact with Young, who fell back and skidded out of bounds after his shot from the corner.
Additional flops after the second offense result in increased penalties and could lead to a suspension.
Unrelated, Young picked up a technical foul Wednesday by arguing a non-call against Houston. He also slapped a chair on the team bench because he was mad at himself on a separate play.
“That’s just my emotions out there,” he said. “I’m usually just loving it.”
Up next for the Lakers: at Dallas Mavericks
When: 5:30 PST.
Where: American Airlines Center.
On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 3-9; Mavericks 9-3.
Record vs. Mavericks (2013-14): 0-3.
Update: The Mavericks have won five consecutive games, though it hasn’t been against the NBA’s best: Washington, Charlotte, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Sacramento. Regardless, Dallas has shown balanced scoring and an improved interior defense with the reacquisition of center Tyson Chandler. Dirk Nowitzki keeps pumping out solid stats at age 36: 19 points and 53% shooting. Dallas swept the Lakers in a season series for the first time ever, winning by an average of 15 points, in 2013-14.
Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan
All things Lakers, all the time.
Get all the Lakers news you need in Tania Ganguli's weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.