Though the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have enough gas in the tank to conquer the Miami Heat, they received stout performances from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond.
Caldwell-Pope turned in arguably his best game of the season. In 39 minutes, he lasered in a season-high 28 points on a season-high 11 made field goals, while knocking down 6-of-11 3-pointers, the second-most threes he’s converted in a game this season.
Drummond, who missed three games due to a toe contusion, returned to the starting lineup and finished his first full game with the Lakers. He dropped 15 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals on 5-of-9 shooting, doing just about everything right for a new player learning a complex system.
Caldwell-Pope explained how Drummond adhered to his strengths to have the game he did.
“He had a solid night, great night,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Great post moves down there, he was rebounding the ball for us, setting great screens. That’s Andre. He came out and he played to his abilities, he did what he’s supposed to do.”
Because of Drummond’s nature to attack the paint whenever he touches the ball or roams the interior, his presence forces opponents to carefully scrutinize his movements and force him into contested looks if possible.
However, Drummond has the ability to neutralize double-teams with his precise and timely passing. That manifested against a stingy Heat defense, who flocked to the 27-year-old center whenever the ball entered his palms.
So far this season, Drummond is averaging 2.6 assists per game. As aforementioned, he tallied three dimes against Miami. Caldwell-Pope detailed Drummond’s aptness in moving the ball around.
“He’s a great passer,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Even in the post when you do drop it down to him, he’s gonna draw attention. Everybody is looking at the ball and he’s a big guy down there so he can score down there. So before you even make your move, he’s looking for the cutter or skip pass, if it’s not there then he’s going right into his move and actually just putting it in the basket. So he’s actually improved on that since the time we’ve been playing together and I love it. He’s looking to pass the ball before he makes his move and he’s looking at everything.”
It hasn’t been very long since Drummond joined the Lakers, but Caldwell-Pope is more than familiar with Drummond since the two played together while with the Detroit Pistons.
Caldwell-Pope added how Drummond’s personality has been a seamless transition to the squad.
“He’s always happy and jumping around joyful, joking and playing,” Caldwell-Pope said. “But that’s Andre. He’s a big kid, he likes to joke and have fun like any of us, we like to laugh and joke as well. So him just being new coming over, just jumping right in, enjoying guys’ company, just being himself. That’s good, we can just build things faster when guys are like that.”
Drummond says Caldwell-Pope has improved since joining Lakers
With the familiarity of the two dating back several years, Drummond obtained firsthand experience in watching Caldwell-Pope develop his game.
The 28-year-old guard received praise from Drummond with the improvements he has made since donning a Pistons jersey, especially as a knockdown shooter.
“Having that relationship with KCP and seeing how he is now from where he was when he got drafted in Detroit is night and day,” Drummond said. “Defensively he’s still an incredible defender. Shooting wise he’s gotten so much better and his confidence off the dribble has been incredible for us.
“Tonight was a great game for him. It just sucks that we didn’t win the game.”
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