The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have Andre Drummond available in their loss to the Boston Celtics, but head coach Frank Vogel explained that the center hasn’t been at full health since the win against the Brooklyn Nets.
Drummond first made his debut against the Milwaukee Bucks, but he only played 14 minutes until a toe contusion ruled him out. Drummond explained how Brook Lopez had stepped on his foot that led to the injury with his full toenail coming off.
The 27-year-old center would miss the ensuing three contests, returning against the Miami Heat, where he put up a promising 15 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Drummond succeeded that performance with a 20-point, 11-rebound game against the Nets, but in that game, Vogel said he had his toe stepped on again, which is why they ruled him out of the Boston matchup.
“It is the same thing,” Vogel said. “He got stepped on it pretty good in the Brooklyn [Nets] game. Played with a lot of pain in the [New York] Knicks game and the Charlotte [Hornets] game. It swelled up after the back-to-back yesterday, so we’re going to hold him out tonight.”
The pain makes it plausible how Drummond struggled to replicate his solid outings against the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. Against the Knicks, he scored only three points to go with 10 rebounds, one steal, one block and four turnovers.
In the Hornets contest, Drummond mustered just four points on 2-of-7 field goal shooting alongside 12 rebounds, three steals and one assist.
When healthy, the newly acquired big man has manifested the aptness to hoard rebounds on both sides of the ball and providing the interior scoring presence the Lakers have been browsing for all season long. His interior defense has also furnished L.A. with someone who can both block and alter shots at solid rates.
That would’ve definitely been beneficial against the Celtics, who managed to penetrate the paint with ease regardless of the player. The Lakers just couldn’t fight back with any resistance, and Drummond could’ve aided in that department, but having him healthy is the most important aspect to focus on.
Kuzma defends Drummond’s offensive contributions
Drummond wasn’t happy with himself after his two consecutive underwhelming performances against New York and Charlotte, but Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma came to his defense, citing how the big man still needs more time to acclimate to a new system.
“It’s a process. It’s not going to happen overnight,” Kuzma said. “I think for him it’s a big adjustment. If you think about it, he’s never really been coached in his career. Going from Detroit and Cleveland and coming here to a championship organization, it’s tough and I think that for him he’s doing a great job of learning and asking questions and soaking everything in.”
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