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EL SEGUNDO — Leave it to JaVale McGee to innovate head-scratching highlights.
The 31-year-old Lakers center of “Shaqtin’ A Fool” fame got another clip added to his collection Wednesday night as he got open for a dunk via an unconventional method: limping near the baseline.
McGee bumped knees with his former teammate Draymond Green, and staggered out of bounds briefly. But when he saw Green move over to double-team Anthony Davis, he could smell an opportunity.
“I was like, ‘Forget the pain. I’m going to go get these buckets,’” McGee said, recapping the play after Thursday’s practice. “So I just ran back in and got a dunk.”
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 17, 2019
It was one of the six baskets McGee got in a 12-point night against the Warriors, who he’s thoroughly annihilated throughout the preseason. The possible favorite to start at center next week, McGee received three assists from Davis, who he said he’s built chemistry with throughout the preseason.
Even within the Lakers organization, though, what Coach Frank Vogel called McGee’s “possum” play got special attention.
“We watched that in film this morning and everybody had a good laugh over it,” Vogel said. “Great play by JaVale. … There’s a lot of ways to get open in this league, right? That’s a new one.”
McGee emphasized that he didn’t fake his limp after bumping against Green – he felt real pain. But he also couldn’t keep himself from laughing either as he talked about what he called “a cool play.”
“I didn’t fake it,” he said. “I just want everybody to know that. I really did hit my knee. But I sucked it up like the real man I am.”DAVIS, JAMES TO SIT OUT PRESEASON FINALE
The Lakers feel comfortable enough with their stars to wrap them up until the regular season begins.
Vogel said after Thursday’s practice that LeBron James and Anthony Davis will sit out Friday’s last preseason game against Golden State at Chase Center. It wraps up a relatively impressive four-game performance by the Lakers duo, who both played more than 25 minutes on Wednesday.
“I was prepared to play those guys four quarters if needed,” Vogel said. “We came out in the second half with the mindset that … we’re going to use this game as a conditioner and really look to push our wind, and I gave those guys an extra quarter to get some work in.”
James finished the preseason averaging 14.8 points, 6.3 assists and four rebounds in just under 20 minutes in his four appearances. Davis averaged 13 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in just under 21 minutes per game.
Vogel said he might rest other players for Friday’s game, but that he had not yet decided.LAKERS EXERCISE TEAM OPTION ON KUZMA
Kyle Kuzma is officially under contract with the Lakers through the 2020-21 season as the team exercised its fourth-year option for the 24-year-old forward. The decision will net Kuzma $3.6 million next season, before he’s eligible for an extension to his rookie deal.
The second-leading scorer among the Lakers returning from last season, Kuzma has still not played in the preseason. Since being cleared for non-contact work on Monday, he’s been spotted after practice and before games doing one-on-one work with assistant Phil Handy.
“He’s just doing a lot of one-on-0 shooting with a coach … increasing his load and the intensity of his minutes potentially, just trying to work on progression,” Vogel said. “But it’s all still a no-contact thing.”
JaVale McGee is asked about the "possum" play that got him a wide open dunk last night — and laughs for the first 10 seconds of the clip.
Goes on to say he felt real pain in his knee, "but I sucked it up like the real man I am." pic.twitter.com/9TFbfaB6SW
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 17, 2019