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Postby q123 on 19 May 2018, 01:36

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Lakers kicked Nick Young out of practice Thursday. He was sick -- probably from traveling across time zones recently, he suspected -- and they didnt want him getting any of his teammates sick.Would he play Friday against the San Antonio Spurs? It wasnt clear at the time, and even if he did play, Lakers coach Luke Walton said, We didnt know how much we were going to be able to get out of him.But Walton and assistant coach Brian Shaw told Young that if Michael Jordan could play well with the flu -- as Jordan famously did by scoring 38 while quite ill in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals -- then so could Young. It was a message of inspiration, but they were half-kidding, of course. Young took it in stride, then he started against the Spurs.What Young achieved over the ensuing 28 minutes of floor time was stunning on many levels. He scored 22 points, hitting 7 of 12 shots, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, one of which helped keep the Lakers within striking distance late. He continued to be one of the Lakers best defenders and even blocked a Pau Gasol hook shot, along with grabbing four rebounds. Perhaps his only flaw was that he finally missed a free throw; hes now 28-for-29 for the season.They doped me up real good with some medicine before, so I felt good, Young would later joke. I felt [sick] in the beginning, but as the game went on, I started feeling like myself a little bit.The Lakers lost 116-107 despite rallying in the fourth quarter to close a 17-point gap to just four, a comeback both surprising and impressive because they were playing against the stout Spurs without point guard and leading scorer DAngelo Russell, who was out with a sore left knee. Afterward, Walton praised Young, saying he played great and gave us a nice effort.Walton was then asked if he has come to expect such performances from Young, and if he truly grasped how shocking such a concept is considering how tumultuous Youngs past two seasons had been.I dont think its a shock, and, yes, I do expect him to play this way night in and night out, Walton said. Hes our starting shooting guard.Following that business-like, seemingly no-frills response, Walton moved on. But digest this new reality for a moment, if you can. Not only is Young on an NBA roster for the 2016-17 season, but hes starting and playing a key role. And not only that: Hes playing so well that it has become almost commonplace, even when hes playing while sick. And Young is doing all of that with the Lakers, a team that he believed just a few short months ago didnt want him.Factor it all in, and its hard to find a bigger surprise anywhere in the NBA. Indeed, Young has resurrected his career, and he tried to sum up that resurrection in October, just days before Halloween, by offering a ghoulish metaphor. I was like the hand out the grave, Young said with a laugh. Im still here. Im just going to keep fighting, keep going.Publicly, Young laughs and smiles and jokes just about all the time. His personality is often described as cartoonish, but, he admits, that personality also shields what lies beneath. And he put up that shield last season when he faced constant criticism from ex-Lakers coach Byron Scott, saw his minutes and production shrink, dealt with highly publicized off-the-court drama, then endured rumors that the Lakers would cut ties with him and that his career was ultimately in jeopardy.Its tough, Young said after practice at the Lakers facility Saturday. I had to put a facade on to stay believing and have faith.If you could go back in time to last summer and tell Young that after two subpar years hed still remain with the Lakers and be a valuable contributor, a player whom Walton has often said is their best perimeter defender, what would he say?He said hed be shocked, just like most NBA observers are now.I thought for sure come July after the championship game was over, I thought for sure they were going to make some cuts, Young said.And he believed that he would be one of those cuts.It wasnt an unrealistic expectation, after everything that had transpired. First, rewind to July 2014. The Lakers signed Young to a four-year, $21 million deal, rewarding him for averaging a career-high 17.9 points the season before. But that same month, the Lakers also hired Scott as their head coach. And from the start, Scott, with his old-school mentality, and Young, with his light-hearted approach, seemed to clash.Youngs opportunities and scoring fell in 2014-15 and dropped even more last season, when the Lakers posted a franchise-worst 17-65 record. Then in March, a video surfaced, recorded by Russell, that showed Young talking about women other than his fiance, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. (Young and Azaela would call off their engagement a few months later.)The incident created a divide in the locker room, and there were doubts about whether Young and Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, could coexist. To many, the only solution was for the Lakers to part ways with Young.You hear everything, Young said. I wont lie and say I didnt hear all the rumors and all that. It was up in the air. There was so much going on. I didnt know where I was going to be.Many believed Youngs NBA career might well be over and that his only options were to play in China, though even that didnt seem like a guarantee. Young said he wasnt thinking that far ahead, though.I just didnt think I was going to be here, Young said. I knew I was probably going to play somewhere, but I thought for sure Id probably get bought out or traded or just cut, period, and Id have to try out somewhere.As one might expect, Young is about as satisfied by his turnaround as outsiders are surprised.Its great, he said. This is home. I grew up here [in Los Angeles]. I was a little disappointed how everything ended last year, the last two years. [But] Coach has given me the ultimate confidence and [his] believing in me, it makes me want to run through a wall for him.Several Lakers have used that exact same phrase to describe their commitment to Walton.I would run through a wall for Coach right now, Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said after a practice earlier this month. Hes doing such a good job. We want to get wins for him as well as ourselves.He wants to run through a wall for us, too, Lakers forward Julius Randle added after the same practice. He has our back. And when you have someone who truly cares about you, its a different feeling. Its an open and honest relationship. I can text him, call him, talk to him after practice or whatever. Its just an open relationship. Hes genuine. You can go up to somebody and know if they truly care about you or not.Perhaps no Laker wants to run through that metaphorical wall for Walton more than Young, who credits the 36-year-old coach for helping revive the Lakers as well as his careerIts unbelievable that a coach could come in and just change the whole mindset and the program. Its great, Young said.Young also credits Walton for his individual success, citing the coachs system and ability to relate to players, which is often mentioned as one of Waltons greatest strengths. Luke has been in situations where he knows players, Young said. Hes played against me before. He knows the game.Walton gave Young a chance, a clean slate, but Young also admits that he knew this opportunity might be his last chance in the NBA, and it couldnt be wasted.Yeah, for sure, he said. Unfortunate situations happened last year that made things worse. Once I had a chance to get past all of that, its all about basketball.Young laughed after he was asked to pick which one of those unfortunate situations marked his lowest moment.Its hard to pick one, he said. Ah, man. I had a couple. Coach didnt play me for nine games. It was tough, it was tough. He was bringing people from the D-League up and playing them over me. It was hard, it was hard. It messed up my confidence.So he put up his facade, his shield, joking and smiling and laughing even while his career crumbled around him and his confidence dwindled. He leaned on his family and friends. He didnt visit the Lakers practice facility all summer, only stepping inside in late September, just before training camp began. On the day he walked in, he looked around and noticed the different atmosphere under Walton.It was good, Young said. People were happy to see me.Young played so well in training camp and throughout the preseason, Walton was convinced to start him on opening night. Youngs strong play has only continued, so much so that Walton expects it nightly, even if outsiders are still acclimating.More and more, Youngs metaphor about a hand bursting through a grave seems especially fitting. On Saturday, Young thought about that image.You cant keep me down! he said, his ever-present smile stretching from ear to ear. Steelers Jerseys Store . The visitors took a deserved lead in the 16th minute with midfielder Yohan Cabaye curling the ball beyond Adrian from inside the penalty area. Cheap Mason Rudolph Jersey .C. -- Calgarys Kevin Koe did it the hard way again. http://www.cheapsteelersjerseyselite.com/?tag=cheap-james-washington-jersey . "Hes going to have hip surgery on Jan. 7, and hell be expected to rehabilitate for four to six months beyond that," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Friday in an interview. Steelers Jerseys Outlet . Uniteds eighth defeat of a wretched campaign means Liverpool, which currently occupies the fourth and final Champions League place, could go nine points clear of its fierce rival by beating West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Charlie Adam scored both of Stokes goals at Britannia Stadium either side of Robin van Persies equalizer, with a miserable day for seventh-place United capped by first-half injuries to centre halves Jonny Evans and Phil Jones that forced them off. Steelers Jerseys Supply . The All-Pro lineman got the leg bent under him while trying to make a tackle during the first half of a 22-20 overtime loss at Miami on Thursday night. The medical staff initially thought hed torn the ligament, and the test a day later in Cincinnati confirmed it. WASHINGTON -- Tanner Roark will start Game 2 for the Washington Nationals in their National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.The game, scheduled for Sunday, was originally slated for Saturday before being rained out.?Its the spot that very likely would have gone to Stephen Strasburg, but he is out for the NLDS after hurting his pitching elbow late in the regular season. On Friday, before the Nationals 4-3 loss in Game 1, he had his first bullpen session off a mound since being sidelined.For the right-handed Roark (16-10, 2.83 ERA), the assignment announced Friday represents the latest sign of an impressive return to starting in 2016 after being relegated to the bullpen last season. Lefty Rich Hill (3-2, 1.84 ERA in six starts for L.A. after a trade from Oakland) will pitch Game 2 for the Dodgers.Emotions already are pretty high right now. ... If youre not nervous, youre not human and you dont care, I feel like, said Roark, who was told Thursday he would pitch in Game 2. So for me, being nervous is a good thing.The choice of Roark was not all that surprising, and Nationals manager Dusty Baker smiled broadly as he joked to media members before Game 1: Well, you know, we werent debating that much. We were just kind of messing with you guys, to tell you the truth.In a tweak to his batting order, Baker flipped Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, moving up 20155 NL MVP Harper from No.dddddddddddd 3 to No. 2 and shifting Werth from No. 2 to No. 3.I just talked to them out of respect, Baker said, but they said, Hey, Skip, whatever you want to do, and whatever you think thats best, thats what you do.Both teams officially released their 25-man NLDS rosters, and Washingtons includes only seven relievers, including three lefties. Baker said he wanted extra position players on the bench because of the possible need for pinch runners, particularly for second baseman Daniel Murphy, who last started Sept. 17 because of a strained glute muscle.Reynaldo Lopez is the only long reliever in the bullpen, while Sammy Solis, Oliver Perez and Marc Rzepczynski are the lefties; Sean Burnett is the odd man out.Infielder Wilmer Difo and outfielder?Michael Taylor?made the roster, while relievers Burnett, Matt Belisle and Yusmeiro Petit and outfielders Ben Revere and Brian Goodwin were left off.We contemplated many, many different scenarios, Baker said.The Dodgers roster had, as promised, three catchers: Carlos Ruiz, Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, who can also play in the infield. L.A. also has only seven relievers.The Game 3 starting pitchers are lefty Gio Gonzalez for Washington and righty Kenta Maeda for Los Angeles. 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