Jordan Hill knows that his role on the Lakers has changed a bit.
“With guys like Kobe [Bryant] and Steve [Nash] out, we’re not good enough to have off days,” Hill said.
So in the power forward’s first game as a starter this season, he responded with a career-high 21 points on seven-for-12 shooting and a game-high 11 rebounds in the Lakers’ 116-95 win over New Orleans on Tuesday.
“I was having fun out there,” he said.
It’s not a word that has been used often in association with the Lakers this season.
With Bryant sidelined while he recovers from his torn Achilles’ tendon and Nash out because of nerve pain in his back, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni was hoping somebody would step up, he just didn’t know who.
“I thought it was up for grabs,” D’Antoni said. “I had no idea who would do it.”
Hill, who has averaged only 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds this season, saw his opportunity.
“I’m known for rebounding energy,” Hill said. “I go in there and feel like nobody can keep me off the boards.”
Hill had twice as many rebounds as any Pelicans player, earning him nearly 27 minutes of playing time.
“He’s a good guy to lean on if you want a jolt of energy,” D’Antoni said.