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Lakers’ Larry Nance Jr. gets approval from his father

Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. defends against Suns guard Brandon Knight during the first quarter of a game on Dec. 9.

Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. defends against Suns guard Brandon Knight during the first quarter of a game on Dec. 9.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

After a high-flying dunk by Larry Nance Jr. over seven-foot center Brook Lopez in Brooklyn on Wednesday, his father had to finally concede.

“He never got higher than me until the Brooklyn dunk,” Larry Nance said. “So officially he got past me. I thought it was pretty good. It was the best one I’ve seen. Seemed like he took off too far. When he took off I was like, he’ll never make it. He just kept going and going. Pretty impressive.”

On Saturday, Nance Jr. finally got to play in the city where his father played from 1988 to 1994. Each time the Cleveland Cavaliers’ public-address announcer said his name, he paused a little bit before adding the “junior,” letting the words “Larry Nance” hang along for just a beat.

Nance Jr. tried to treat the game like any other, and so did his father, insisting there was no special significance. But after the game, the Lakers forward admitted the truth.

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“It secretly means a little bit more,” Nance Jr. said. “Obviously, every time anyone plays at home it’s a little bit extra. It’s pretty cool playing under my dad’s jersey.”

Friendly reunion

Lakers Coach Luke Walton doesn’t have much time these days to talk to his old college roommate and the best man at his wedding. He and Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson both live busy enough lives that they don’t catch up often.

“He’s still on the team?” Walton said, when asked about Jefferson.

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Did Jefferson know Walton was a future NBA coach?

“I knew he had the ability to steal money,” Jefferson said. “I knew that for sure.”

They caught up postgame in a hallway at Quicken Loans Arena, bonded years ago by similar personalities.

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“We play basketball the right way, so just competing and playing against each other,” Jefferson said. “And just on a personal level, I’m the youngest, I have two older brothers. He’s got three brothers. There were just a lot of that. We both just liked to play and enjoyed playing. It made our personalities pretty easy. Both laid-back guys, San Diego, Phoenix. I think it made it a little bit easier for us to transition into college being roommates.”

Mozgov gets ring

The Cavaliers held a pregame ceremony for Timofey Mozgov to receive his championship ring from the 2015-16 season.

“You know it’s amazing,” Mozgov said. “I can repeat it every day. I’m really proud of when I was with this team. They love you here. What else I can ask?”

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Ivica Zubac, Marcelo Huertas and Thomas Robinson were among the teammates gathered at Mozgov’s locker after the game to take a look at the ring.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @TaniaGanguli

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