The Los Angeles Lakers needed a break more than ever. Despite over five months of dedicated and tough practices, including a training camp that was labeled by the majority as the most difficult that they’ve ever been a part of, 53 games in, the Lakers still have just 13 wins to show for it.
As Jeremy Lin put it, it’s difficult not to reap the benefits of your hard work. For Lakers players, trainers and coaches, the NBA All-Star break was the first time they’ve been given more than 24 hours away from basketball since the start of training camp. It was time to recharge the batteries, remember their love for the game, and relax.
Byron Scott chose Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico for a much needed four-day getaway with his girlfriend, Cecilia, accompanied by his son, Thomas, and wife, Kristen. Between a couple rounds of golf at Vista Vallarta Golf Course, sightseeing, gourmet dining and spa days, Scott was able to recharge his batteries for the second-half of the season.
It rejuvenated me,” Scott said of his getaway at Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit. “Just like it does to players. I went back, and had a great time and had a renewed sense of urgency to still get some things done.”
Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson chose to go back home to San Antonio, where he watched his jersey retirement at Karen Wagner High School.
It was a blessing coming from where we’re from. There’s not too many people that make it out and make it to the league and stuff like that. It was cool to see that happen,” Clarkson said of the jersey retirement.
After spending time with his family and friends, Clarkson headed back to Los Angeles to get some work in. Clarkson worked out for several hours with Steve Nash at the Lakers practice facility on Tuesday, where he said the two focused heavily on improving his balance.
Nick Young chose a Hawaii vacation with rapper girlfriend Iggy Azalea before making his way over to New York to stop by Fashion Week.
I did it all. Zip-lining, flew over a volcano in a helicopter with no doors on it. I was living my life on the edge, even the volcano couldn’t mess with me,” Young said smiling.
Before the break, Nick Young suffered an injury to his peroneal tendon in his left foot, and, before the injury, Young was noticeably struggling to find his shooting rhythm. Young said the break allowed him to get his “mind right,” “relax,” and also chimed in that it was a much needed break from Scott’s tough practices.
Though Young’s fear of dolphins (due to an alleged dolphin attack experience) circulated through the media before Young’s vacation, he decided to face his fears head-on while in Hawaii. Surrounded by what Young referred to as a “gang” of dolphins, Young was able to gain a new understanding of the cetacean mammals.
“Got a chance to talk to the dolphins a little bit, now we’ve got a cool understanding, we stay away from each other, just give a little head nod and keep it moving.”
Plus, Young even managed to film an episode of Nick Cannon’s TV show, Wild ‘N Out during the break, which he said delivered some low blows, although remaining confident that he was able to hold his own.
Jeremy Lin also returned to New York, but not for Fashion Week. Lin went upstate to visit his family, experience his little brother’s Senior Night and laugh with his friends. Despite his little brother suffering a tibia fracture, Lin said said it was so great to be able to celebrate what his brother has already accomplished in his career.
Lin also spent his fair share of time working out with his his dad, brother, trainer and shooting coach, “regaining his passion” for the game.
I got a chance to get away and it’s weird when things aren’t going that well, the one thing I like to do is get in the gym without anyone telling me what to do or how to play. I just like to go and hoop and so that’s what I did during the All-Star weekend. When you’re in it everyday, sometimes it becomes a grind. It was definitely good mentally, good physically.”
As far as what he’s focusing on basketball-wise after the break, Lin said he’s looking to cut turnovers and have more efficient play-making.
As far as goals for the end of the season, everyone seems succinct on one thing, competing and leaving everything out on the floor for the Lakers last 29 games.
How many games we win from this point on, that’s kind of irrelevant,” Scott said after the All-Star break. “We want to continue to go out there and be competitive every single night.”
The Lakers have 29 games left to give it all they’ve got.