The Los Angeles Lakers moved back above .500 on Tuesday night as Nick Young buried a long-range three-pointer with five seconds left to stun the Oklahoma City Thunder. The victory moved the Lake Show to 8-7 as L.A. holds down the seventh seed in the Western Conference during the early going.
Although the current campaign was expected to serve as a transition year between the Kobe Bryant era and the next generation of stars, the Lakers are trying to accelerate the process. So far, there have been enough positive signs to believe that’s possible.
With that in mind, let’s check out some of the latest news circulating around one of the league’s biggest surprises as the quarter pole of the season approaches.
Nick Young’s Surge Continues with Game-Winner
Young’s clutch triple in the final seconds Tuesday night was merely the spotlight play of what’s already been a strong bounce-back season for the guard. He’s averaging 14.3 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting a career-best 45.9 percent from the field.
The Lakers needed a lot of things to go right to become a playoff contender. Getting the USC product back to a point where he’s a key contributor rather than a lineup drain, as was the case last season, is a major step. His 15.8 player efficiency rating would be the second-highest mark of his career, per Basketball-Reference.com.
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In turn, he’s starting to earn more trust from the coaching staff. Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com passed along comments from head coach Luke Walton, who explained why he’s confident turning to the swingman in those game-breaking moments.