LAS VEGAS -- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot wore a bandage to cover the five stitches on his face, the swelling of his upper lip still very much visible just below it. The good news was the pain in his teeth had subsided.
Luwawu-Cabarrot played his first game on Tuesday since suffering an upper-lip laceration on Saturday against the Warriors. He was injured on the same play that Markelle Fultz sprained his ankle.
The shooting guard returned to the starting lineup to face the Celtics. He was forced to put his nerves behind him once the game began.
Luwawu-Cabarrot let it show on the court. He led all players with 16 points (4 for 13 from the field, 3 for 5 from three) and added six rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.
In spite of his concern, Luwawu-Cabarrot repeatedly attacked the basket, so often he caught the coaching staff off guard.
“That was one of the areas that surprised us last year, his ability to get into the paint,” Las Vegas Summer League head coach Lloyd Pierce said. “I thought tonight he tried to do it a little bit too much. I wasn’t really expecting him to have such an aggressive mentality with the busted lip, but he came out and was trying to make some plays at the rim.”
Luwawu-Cabarrot looked at this game in two ways: he could worry about having to go back to the dentist or he could just go for it. He went with option B.
“That’s my game and I have to go and be confident,” he said. “If I’m scared, that’s when I’m going to get hit. If I go hard to the basket and keep playing like I played before, it’s going to be alright.”
Luwawu-Cabarrot showed it takes more than a nasty cut to hold him back from attacking the paint.
“It was kudos to him for not being timid and not being passive,” Pierce said.