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Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov leaves game with injury after eclectic night

Los Angeles Lakers center Timofey Mozgov, right, of Russia, enjoys a moment with assistant coach Jesse Mermuys, left, during warmups before an NBA preseason basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire

The Los Angeles Lakers wasted little time in free agency this past offseason. Right as free agency began, the team quickly moved in on their target and immediately seized him. The him, of course, was center Timofey Mozgov. When you take a look at this duo of plays from the seven-foot Russian, it’s not hard to see why the team was so dogged in their pursuit; so much so that they gave him $64 million over the next four years:

If dunking on Zaza Pachulia wasn’t impressive enough, Movgov clearly had no regard for the Warriors’ major acquisition this offseason when he swatted Kevin Durant:

Unfortunately, Mozgov played just 15 minutes and finished with four points and two rebounds (and one block!) before leaving the game after this rough tumble:

As was alluded to in the caption, Mozgov is being paid $16 million a year to patrol the center of the court for Los Angeles, so him leaving the game with a bruised tailbone in the third quarter and being ruled out for the remainder of the game is not a positive sign with their season opener exactly a week away. The big man will be reevaluated on Thursday, and hopefully the injury is nothing serious.

Just a year after starting all 20 postseason games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mozgov lost playing time last season due to poor play that stemmed from some knee issues. While he still started 48 games last season — the most of his career — he averaged just 17.4 minutes per night. His first season in Cleveland was his finest, when he averaged 10.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

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