Josh Powell Works the Midnight Shift
Close to midnight on Monday and about 3 ½ hours after his Lakers had polished off Phoenix 128-107 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, the forward strolled back into the Staples Center. About the only people remaining were members of the cleaning crews and a few slow sports writers.
After totaling two points and one rebound in four minutes, Powell had gone to eat dinner in Los Angeles near the Staples Center, having pasta and wings. He then returned to the court for about 20 minutes of shooting, not finishing until after midnight.
"That's not the truth,'' Powell said. "Something good happens after midnight. You can get in some work.''
But even Powell, a five-year NBA veteran, said he'd never returned to the site of a game hours after it ended for some shooting. Let alone this happening during the playoffs.
"Not in the arena,'' Lakers forward Luke Walton said of never hearing of a player returning after the game the way Powell did. "At the practice site (in suburban El Segundo), we have all access. ... He's definitely one of the hardest-working guys out here.''
Minutes have been erratic this season for the 6-foot-9 Powell, who averaged 2.7 points while getting into 63 Lakers' regular-season games. But, with big man Andrew Bynum battling knee trouble, one never knows when Powell might be needed.
"I'm always working, but that's not normal,'' Powell said of making a midnight shooting spree something positive. "I'm just staying ready. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.''
Powell said the lighting wasn't too good. But it was sufficient for him to get up the shots he desired.
"He's making sure he's prepared in case his number is called in order to do the right things for the team,'' said Lakers assistant coach Craig Hodges. "It's both cool and, at the same time, good to see.''
So did Hodges, an NBA guard from 1982-92 who twice led the NBA in 3-point percentage, ever sneak back into the arena late at night to work on his shooting?
"No,'' Hodges said. "My jumper was good.''
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson