CM – Lakers ’Dwight Howard and Talen Horton-Tucker leave COVID-10 logs

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LOS ANGELES – The Lakers are finally seeing their case numbers are moving in the right direction.

The team learned Tuesday morning that Dwight Howard and Talen Horton-Tucker had tested the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Horton-Tucker started against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, while the Lakers held Howard out of the first half.

The Lakers have four players left: Malik Monk, Avery Bradley, Austin Reaves and Kent Bazemore. Head coach Frank Vogel and assistant coach Phil Handy also remain in the logs.

One of the major inconveniences of losing players during their recent three game road trip was the Lakers being quarantined across the country. The team said Bradley and Handy returned to Los Angeles (from Dallas) on Saturday, while Reaves and Monk were expected on Tuesday (from Minnesota). On Tuesday morning, the team said Vogel and Bazemore were still in Chicago.

The NBA as a whole recorded more than 100 players in logs in December. Assistant coach David Fizdale, who acted as interim head coach, said although the Lakers had lost their two previous games, they didn’t want their depth issues to creep into their mental approach.

« This is not convenient or convenient for anyone, » said Fizdale. “This is the world that is going through this. Let’s just weather the storm, find out who is playing and we are playing. Find out who is coaching and we’ll coach. That is what it is and accept what it is before us and no excuses. Let’s go out there and play our bums off.  »

With four players still out on logs, All-Star Big Man Anthony Davis with a knee injury for at least a month and Kendrick Nunn still recovering from a preseason injury, the Lakers have two deals on the sidelines of the squad that adds depth with guard Mason Jones and wing Jemerrio Jones.

Mason Jones was added as a two-way contract player, with the Lakers surrendering Chaundee Brown to make room to call him up. Jones played for the South Bay Lakers that season averaging 18.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.2 steals. He has played in 32 NBA career games. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak affecting the league, two-way contract players have been given unlimited game days for their NBA clubs (previously they could only spend 40 days with the parent club until the end of the G League season).

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Jemerrio Jones is the eighth Laker to return to the franchise for a non-consecutive season this year. He previously played at the end of the 2018/19 season and appeared in six games. Jones has signed a 10-day contract as part of the NBA’s new hardship exemption, which gives teams additional flexibility for 10-day deals when dealing with protocol-related absences. He plays for the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League subsidiary.

Fizdale indicated that both Joneses would be used on a limited basis, but he hoped that if asked to do so, they would increase the energy level of an experienced team that has to do more dirty work.

« People who might be able to help us get some more belongings out of the jar again, lose balls, run the floor and get some cheap baskets, » he said. “Jemerrio is a very changeable child. A kid who can protect multiple positions and throw the ball off balance and that’s obviously something we’ve talked about getting better at. And (Mason) he can put the ball in the hole and make plays and I won’t be afraid to let him do it comfortably.  »

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