JaVale McGee fights through flu in Lakers’ win

first_imgCHARLOTTE — In the hours before tip-off against the Hornets, JaVale McGee spent much of his prep in a private area of the locker room, taking an IV drip as he hoped to feel better.The veteran center had skipped shootaround, feeling drained by flu-like symptoms. Luke Walton called him a game-time decision to play and was preparing to start Tyson Chandler.But not minutes after Walton offered that assessment, McGee was headed to the court for his warm-up shots.“You can’t let little things like the flu keep you from doing your job,” he said. “So I just wanted to make sure I gave them my all.” Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers “ It’s getting easier and easier the more we play together,” McGee said. “Lonzo’s always looking for that pass so you just have to try to find the open space and he’ll find you most of the time.”LANCE CRIES FOUL OVER TECHNICALLakers fans have largely come to know Lance Stephenson’s calling card celebration: the air guitar. Referees apparently don’t feel as warmly about it.Stephenson got a technical foul in the game after playing a solo in the face of Miles Bridges, who was guarding him when he fired a 3-pointer in the third quarter. It was a bit of an incredulous moment for the Lakers who have gotten used to Stephenson’s air artistry.Stephenson said his back-and-forth with Bridges, a rookie, was all in good fun.“Miles challenged me, so I just showed him, like man, I’m confident,” he said. “Just a little fun. I worked with him during the summer, we worked out at the same place. So we know each other a little bit.”Stephenson vowed to keep up his air guitar playing whenever the mood strikes. Walton said while he’s tried to change Stephenson, he has a mind of his own. And now he’s gotten to be OK with it.“You can’t take that away from Lance, it’s part of who he is,” Walton said. “I tried once earlier this season and he just keeps doing it. … That’s what makes him really good is his competitive greatness and that’s part of who he is.”RONDO, INGRAM WON’T JOIN TRIPBoth Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram received medical evaluations on Saturday, and though both are improving, neither will join the Lakers for the current road trip.Rondo was checked out again two days after seeing a hand specialist Thursday, and the Lakers said he was cleared for basketball activity for the first time since he fractured his right hand on Nov. 14 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Ingram was checked out for the first time since his MRI last week on his left sprained ankle. He’s considered day-to-day.The earliest either could play again is on Friday in a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersMcGee’s all under the circumstances was more than anyone expected: He started in the 128-100 victory, and was 9 for 10 from the field with 19 points. Anyone watching the first dunk he made of the game would’ve been hard-pressed to guess McGee had slept 18 of the last 24 hours trying to beat a bug.With Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram and Michael Beasley all out of action again on Saturday night, the Lakers would’ve been ready for his absence — but all hands on deck are appreciated.“He had 101 [degree] fever and wasn’t around at all today,” Luke Walton said. “I think as a team when you see someone fighting through that and still coming out and playing as hard as he played, guys respect it.”McGee anticipated being able to play the second-game of a back-to-back in Washington, up against the Wizards who drafted him in 2008.Walton said he’s thought McGee and Lonzo Ball are developing a stronger chemistry: Ball assisted on three of McGee’s first four baskets.last_img read more