Even though Larry Nance Jr. has been back for the Los Angeles Lakers for around two weeks, the second-year forward hadn’t quite looked like himself. In his first five games back after a bone bruise in his knee kept him out for a month, Nance had 20 points, 19 rebounds, and three steals total.
That changed on Friday night when Nance had his best game arguably of the season against the Boston Celtics. Nance finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and three steals and even though the Lakers came up short in the end, Nance’s presence was felt.
After the game, Nance spoke about how difficult it is to get back in a rhythm when coming back from injury, and according to Bill Oram of the OC Register, Nance believes Friday’s performance got him back on track:
“Coming back after being out that long is tough,” Nance said. “The timing’s off, the rhythm is off, not to mention physically. But over the past couple games I’ve been trying to get back in the swing of things and tonight kind of broke the seal.”
Nance is a player whose stats don’t always do him justice, but more often than not he makes a major impact on the game. When he has a game like he did against the Celtics and gets the attention he deserves, it is a good thing.
The Lakers sorely missed Nance’s energy and defense while he was out. Nance is one of the best defenders on the team and he is skilled offensively when he is looking to be aggressive. That can be difficult when you’ve been out for so long like Nance was, but it looks like he is feeling more comfortable and that is big for the Lakers.