Lakers Practice: Tarik Black’s Increasing Role, Injury Updates

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott maintains that the plan for Kobe Bryant this week will be to play on Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and sit for Friday night’s game in Utah.

Jordan Hill, who left Tuesday night’s game with a hyperextended knee, did not end up needing to undergo an MRI on Wednesday. He is officially listed as probable for Thursday, but Hill expects that he’ll be ready to play.

If not, Tarik Black will be ready to take on even more minutes. After Lakers practice, Scott said he’s been very impressed with Black, who’s earned more minutes in the rotation.

Tarik has done pretty well in the limited time that he’s had. They (his minutes) don’t go up just because he’s out there, he’s making things happen. His minutes are probably going to continue to be in that 20 minute and up range as long as he’s delivering like he is.”

Black played 22 minutes Tuesday night, contributing nine points and nine boards. In his four games played, averaging close to 18 minutes per game, Black’s averaged 8.5 points and almost seven rebounds.

After Tuesday night’s loss, Black said being a starter for the Lakers would mean a lot, but it wouldn’t change how he approaches the game.

It would mean a whole lot to start on a team like this but at the same time, I’m just ready for practice,” Black said Tuesday night. “At the end of the day, even if I do start my role doesn’t change. I’m still going to be the same Tarik Black.”

Ronnie Price underwent an MRI for a sore right elbow, which came back negative, and Lakers say he is probable for Thursday.

Lakers will need to do a better job of restricting paint points moving forward. All of Miami’s made field goals in the first half came from the paint. Hill commented after practice on Wednesday that the guards need to “try a little harder to keep the guards out of the paint” and once the guards get in the paint, the “bigs have got to step up.”

The Lakers will face LeBron James and a surprisingly struggling Cavaliers team on Thursday night.

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