Nick Young gives Lakers spark off bench; Even Rihanna noticed
NOV 22, 2013 9:46p ET
A few days ago, GQ put him No. 19 on its list of most stylish athletes. On Friday night at Staples Center, he insisted that Rihanna, the sultry singer who was sitting courtside near the Lakers bench, called out to him.
"She called my name," Young said. "I'm just having a good day today, you know?"
A good day indeed. Young was a whirling dervish off the bench, matching his season high with 21 points in the Lakers' 102-95 victory over the Golden State Warriors. It marked the first time this season the Lakers have won two games in a row.
Young was a big factor, but so were center Pau Gasol, who totaled 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Farmar, who had 14 points and 8 assists in 19 minutes.
Gasol's points were particularly impressive because he promised to donate $1,000 per point to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to help the relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. His personal donation totaled $24,000.
"I was hoping to get people to also pledge and contribute and donate along with me so we could have a bigger impact,” Gasol said after the game. "That's what it takes. One person can do something, but when you gather 100, a thousand, people, the im6pact is much bigger."
The Warriors, who beat the Lakers by 31 points in the second game of the season, were without point guard Steph Curry, who sat with a mild concussion. But the Lakers were also missing valuable pieces: Kobe Bryant, who isn't ready to come back from a torn Achilles tendon, and Steve Nash and Chris Kaman, who have back issues.
The Lakers used a 12-0 run at the end of the third quarter to break a 63-63 tie – Young hit two three-pointers in that span – then outscored the Warriors 8-4 to open the fourth for an 83-67 lead.
"We're finally finding some consistency," Gasol said. "We're finally putting a good effort mentally and physically together, and that's giving us opportunities to beat teams."
Young had a significant impact, scoring 14 of his 21 in the second half, including an alley-oop dunk from Farmar and some dazzling jumpers and drives. He hit three three-point shots, and the Lakers were 11 of 24 from long distance.
Told afterward that coach Mike D'Antoni complimented his defense, Young said, "I'm just trying to stay in the game. That's what they want, so I'm going to try and give them everything they want. I love to play the game."
At the level he played Friday night, his love is understandable.
"He has a great personality," D'Antoni said. "He's fun and he's always laughing. He's always up. Plus, he's playing defense, which even makes his jokes a little funnier."
Young seemed to soak up the attention he got after the game. He wore a pair of black leather pants with an assortment of zippers, saying, "This is my Kanye (West) edition. That's what happens when you're GQ man of the year."
He was no such thing, of course, but that hardly mattered.
It was his night. Even Rihanna noticed.
+ SHOW COMMENTS +