The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off an impressive overtime victory in the first of their back-to-back matchups with the Utah Jazz. In a game where both teams were without their superstar duos, it was Andre Drummond that stepped up as the best player on the court.
Drummond returned from a one-game absence to lead the way for the Purple and Gold with 27 points on an efficient 10-of-15 shooting from the field. He also filled up the stat sheet with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in the 127-115 win over Utah.
Perhaps even more impressive is that Drummond managed to leave his mark in just 30 minutes after being taken out during the final stretch of the fourth quarter. Fortunately, the praise from head coach Frank Vogel suggests that it was more in response to Utah’s 5-out formation than any potential shortcomings on defense.
The encouraging part is that the switch was not made with Drummond’s recent toe injury in mind. In fact, the 27-year-old provided a positive update on how he has been adjusting.
“I think I’ll be fine. It’s something that is obviously going to take some time. Anybody that knows injuries like those, it’s not something that happens overnight. So sometimes it does flair up every now and again, but more times than not I’m taking care of it. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do to make sure I can get out there on the court and moving forward I think I’ll be fine.”
Drummond’s absence was sorely missed during the loss to the Boston Celtics. Regardless, it is clear that the extra rest paid some dividends for his recovery as he continues to make adjustments.
Vogel noted that Drummond has not been at full health since he suffered another setback with the toe during the win over the Brooklyn Nets. Despite a few rough outings in the following two games, his stellar performance versus the Jazz indicates that he is finally working his way closer to full health.
Drummond on experiencing home win as a Laker
Drummond arrived in L.A. just as they were preparing for a grueling seven-game road trip. As a result, the win over Utah was the first win he got to experience at Staples Center.
Wins are made even more special these days now that there are some fans in the stands with the arena working at a limited capacity. Drummond admits that being on the other side of these celebrations is something special.
“With the fans being in the arena, it was kind of a surreal moment for me. I’ve been in this arena on the opposing side. Seeing them win and seeing the streamers coming down and seeing the excitement and the energy in the arena and to be on this end and see what it’s like, it was definitely a great feeling. Something that I want more of.”
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