The fractured left hand that Russell Westbrook suffered Friday night has created an opportunity for Bones Hyland, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Hyland played 16 minutes after Westbrook left the game, and he may have a spot in the Clippers‘ rotation for the foreseeable future.
“It’s been a long time,” Hyland said, “but honestly I’m just ready to keep contributing to the team, build up these wins and carry this momentum into the thing that we all want to do.”
Carr points out that Hyland averaged 26.2 minutes and 13.6 points in the season’s first five games. But he became a forgotten man after the James Harden trade was completed, logging 34 DNPs since November 10 and being listed as inactive five times. He admits it has been “challenging” and credits Westbrook for providing encouragement while he waited for playing time.
“Russ has been a great leader to me, man, since I came here, even before I got here,” Hyland said. “He’s always been that guy I can go talk to. … In this whole process, he told me to stay down, stay hungry, stay in the gym, just keep being myself and it’ll come back around full circle.”
There’s more from Los Angeles:
- Center Ivica Zubac was able to travel with the Clippers after missing the past two games with an undisclosed illness, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday afternoon’s contest in Minnesota. “I hope I can play,” Zubac said. “I didn’t come all this way not to play. But I guess it’s up to the medical staff, but I hope I can play.”
- Clippers coach Tyronn Lue talked about the effect that losing Westbrook will have on the team, Turner adds. “Russ plays every night, so just to see him go through something like this is tough on everybody,” Lue said. “He wants to compete in practice, in games, in everything.”
- Spencer Dinwiddie, who signed with the Lakers last month after being waived by Toronto, is becoming more comfortable with his new team, according to Khobi Price of The Orange County Register. Coach Darvin Ham said his advice to Dinwiddie was “be aggressive and let us figure it out around you.”
- Harry Giles will report to the Lakers Sunday on his new two-way contract, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Ham told reporters that he’s happy to find a promising talent to fortify the frontcourt (video link). “I think he’s a really good young player,” Ham said. “He was available and we saw an opportunity to gain a little insurance at that position. … He’s also someone we can take a long, hard look at as far as implementing him into the program.”