MEMPHIS, Tenn. >> The soft-spoken Robert Sacre who always preaches teamwork and deflects praise showed his playfully cocky side.
The Lakers' second-year center had just played a large part in securing the team's 96-92 victory Tuesday over the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum by holding bruising forward Zach Randolph to 18 points on 7-for-22 shooting. Sacre soon relished the moments he matched up with Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill in practice where he apparently dominates.
"When Pau gets mad, he starts grunting and groaning and then puts Jordan Hill under the basket," Sacre said. "Me? Nah, not me. I make him shoot jumpers all day."
Hill interjected and playfully argued the accuracy of Sacre's story.
"No one can keep me off the offensive boards," said Hill, though he was limited with only two points on two field goal attempts and two rebounds in eight minutes because of four fouls. "You think Robert can keep me off the offensive boards? If you believe that ... "
Hill laughed playfully in disbelief. But then again, few likely would have believed Sacre could limit Randolph, whom Sacre likened to UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson for his bruising style.
"He's so physical," said Sacre, who has climbed the depth chart this season after the Lakers selected him 60th overeall in the 2012 NBA Draft. "I try to match that physicaltiy and keep him from trying to be aggressive. I wanted to make sure he got the ball as far aaway from the basket so he had to make moves."
The approach worked.
"He played fantastic," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said of Sacre. "He comes in and plays hard and does everything we ask him to do and more."
Including shutting down Gasol and Hill in practice? That remains up for debate.
Weezy wrote:He's playing very well, his defense and effort are exactly what you want in a backup center, his offensive skill is just a bonus. He's a strong dude, and talented 7 footers aren't just everywhere to be had, so it looks pretty smart now that he was signed for multiple seasons. I hope he keeps it and can stay relatively consistent, he's an easy guy to root for.
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