The Los Angeles Lakers got back on track when they returned home to Crypto.com Arena and picked up a win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
The Lakers looked like they were in for a long night as their first quarter wasn’t very encouraging, but a second quarter run gave them the lead for good. Despite some chippiness between the two teams in the second half, Los Angeles kept their cool and now have a few days of rest before their next game.
Aside from the victory, Los Angeles also got to enjoy the 2023-24 season debut of Jarred Vanderbilt, who played 14 minutes off the bench. Rui Hachimura was also listed as available for the game, but head coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers training staff opted to sit him instead.
Ham explained Hachimura’s pregame workout didn’t go quite as smoothly as they hoped for, which led to him staying on the bench, and they are hopeful that he will be able to play on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns.
“Yeah, that is the hope that is the plan,” Ham said. “We went through his pregame workout and still a little iffy. Obviously, we want our players’ health is top priority for us and the doctors did clear him but still getting hit on the bridge of your nose and different you have to wear a mask. Again, he wasn’t with us for a week so he was limited on what he could do on the court and whatnot. So this coming off that nose surgery we felt it was best just to be proactive and be precautionary and so that’s what we’ve leaned.”
Ham and the medical staff have agreed that they won’t risk bringing injured players back too soon and they remained true to that plan. Hachimura underwent nasal fracture surgery over a week ago, and though he was healthy enough to play, Ham made a good call not putting him in.
It must have been disappointing for fans not to see Hachimura return to the lineup, but more important thing is that he doesn’t suffer any setbacks. For now, it seems that this was only a minor speed bump as Ham did add that he and the staff are hoping he’s able to play on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns.
Throwing Hachimura into the fire of the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals might seem a little much, but unlike Vanderbilt, he’s got several games under his belt. He probably wouldn’t be in line for many minutes, but the rush shouldn’t be as bad.
Fans have been waiting the entire season to see the roster at full strength, and Hachimura’s nearing return is a major step toward that.
NBA releases In-Season Tournament Knockout round schedule
Once the standings were finalized, the NBA released the In-Season Tournament knockout round schedule. Lakers will play the quarterfinals against the Suns on Tuesday, Dec. 5. and if they win will move on to the semifinals that will take place on Thursday, Dec. 9.
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