JaVale McGee was trending Thursday, the Lakers center the hot topic on social media because of his “possum” play in which he looked injured, only to return to the court for an easy dunk in their win over Golden State on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The sequence began when Danny Green passed the ball to McGee at the elbow of the free-throw line. After he passed the ball to LeBron James, McGee limped off the court out of bounds, appearing to have hurt his knee.
James whipped the ball to Anthony Davis, who surveyed the court when he saw Draymond Green leave the ailing McGee to double-team the Lakers forward.
Seeing what was happening, McGee stepped back in bounds, took the pass from Davis and dunked. McGee then ran back up court as if nothing was wrong with his body.
“So, I hit my knee, I really hit my knee. And it hurt,” McGee explained after practice Thursday. “But I went out of bounds and I saw Draymond guarding AD and I was like, ‘Forget the pain. I’m going to go get these buckets.’ So I just ran back in and got a dunk. But, I really did bump my knee.”
McGee’s play set Twitter ablaze, some wondering if he was really injured or just faking it.
“Oh, yeah, I think it definitely can work intentionally, but I don’t really mess with like faking injuries because injuries are real,” McGee said. “So, I didn’t fake it. I just want everybody to know that. I really did hit my knee. But I sucked it up. Like the real man I am.”
Even McGee laughed at his last line.
He finished his night with 12 points on six-for-eight shooting and six rebounds. But he had become a social media star.
“Man, my [social media] was blowing up,” he said. “Hell, yeah, it was cool. It was a cool play.”
When McGee plays again Friday night when the Lakers play the Warriors at the Chase Center in both teams’ last exhibition game, he won’t have James and Davis besides him because Lakers coach Frank Vogel said his two superstars are not playing.
Lakers pick up Kuzma’s option
The Lakers announced that they have exercised the option on Kyle Kuzma’s contract for the 2020-21 season. Kuzma, a third-year forward who will earn $1.97 million this season, will make $3.56 million next season.
Kuzma averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season. He hasn’t played in a preseason game because of a stress reaction in his left foot.
Lakers not favored to win title
According to the annual NBA.com survey, the Lakers weren’t picked as the favorites to win the NBA championships in a poll of the league’s 30 general managers.
The Lakers had 11% of the votes, while the Clippers were pegged as the favorites to win it all at 46%.
When he coached the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, Vogel said he used those surveys “as newspaper motivation.”
But he sees this group of Lakers as being self-motivated.
“I don’t think this group needs that at all,” Vogel said. “I don’t think this group pays any attention to that. We know what we’re capable of and what our ceiling is and I really don’t feel like that matters at all with this group.”
The Lakers signed guard Marcus Allen and waived guard Reggie Hearn.