JaVale McGee makes Lakers return against Sacramento Kings

first_imgEL SEGUNDO – When trying to describe how a two-week bout with pneumonia went – including a hospital stay and two-a-day sessions spent trying to get his legs back – JaVale McGee was succinct:“Extremely boring.”McGee was ready to get back to action after missing the last seven games: After being listed as a game-time decision for Sunday night’s home game against the Sacramento Kings, he finally re-entered the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 15. The 30-year-old center said the decision to play or not largely rested with him, and by two hours before tipoff, the Lakers had made the decision to give him a go.The shot-blocking center was a big coup to return on a night when LeBron James was been ruled out the day before (strained left groin) and as Rajon Rondo was still in the early stages his recovery from surgery. While Walton put him on a minutes restriction, it wasn’t long before he made an impact: He won the tip-off to start the game, then scored in his first-quarter stint before checking out less than five minutes in. Mykhailiuk drops 47 in G LeagueA preface: It wasn’t in an NBA game. But 47 points is 47 points.Svi Mykhailiuk, the 47th overall pick of the Lakers in this summer’s draft, shot 16 for 23 to score 47 on Saturday afternoon for the South Bay Lakers in a 119-114 win over the Northern Arizona Suns. It was the most points any G League player has scored this season in a single game.Mykhailiuk has spent most of the season up with the Lakers, and has gotten to play in 22 games this year. But most of that time has not been spent in a featured role, which he gets to play when he suits up for South Bay.“Honestly I feel great,” he said. “It feels great to go in and play the game.”Much of Mykhailiuk’s damage was done on open layup looks: He shot just five 3-pointers in the game. Luke Walton watched it himself, and acknowledged there wasn’t much defense in the game. But the Lakers like when players can show their capabilities in the G League that they can’t always show at the NBA level for lack of playing time.“For guys  that aren’t playing a lot,  to be able to come and play competitive basketball and keep their skills sharp is really important,” Walton said. “It’s good to see them get the confidence and rhythm that you only get from playing but he had a big night.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I’m not going to over-exert myself, because all that’s gonna do is be bad for the team,” he said. “I’ll be out there making bad plays if I’m too tired. So if I’m feeling good, I’m gonna continue to play. And if I feel like I’m getting tired, just because I haven’t played in a while, I’m not afraid to call myself out.”As recently as Monday, McGee was still too sick to fly. Even though he had targeted a Christmas Day return against the Golden State Warriors, his old team that was preparing to present him with his 2018 championship ring, he made the call just before boarding the flight that he wasn’t well enough to travel.He did feel better on Wednesday, joining the team for their trip to Sacramento. But even then, he felt winded by shootaround.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions On Sunday morning, McGee said he was starting to feel close to himself.“Oh man, it’s way better than it was compared to Sacramento,” he said. “Even compared to the Clippers. I worked out a little bit, I was more tired. But it’s just getting better and better every day.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img