Los angeles lakers
The need may have led to Los angeles lakers find solutions to some of your problems in this campaign. And it is that between the insufficient level of available pivots (Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan), plus the loss of Anthony Davis due to the flu, those led by Frank Vogel looked very different during the second half of their victory against the Indiana Pacers 124-116 in overtime.
For almost the first time this season, the Lakers bet heavily on small-ball during that second half, using various formations in which LeBron James he was the base (and pivot in defense) surrounded by four other perimeter and / or shooters. Vogel used those quintets for 16.7 minutes with James as the tallest player in the formation and the results were excellent: +15 in that section. So far from 2021-2022, those lineups had only seen shooting for 1.2 total minutes. Any.
“We are looking at some of the things we can do. There were a couple of lineups that really worked for us and I think they are going to work in the future. In the immediate future. Let’s build on that“LeBron declared in the post-game conference.
And of course, historically James has felt very comfortable in that type of small quintets, in which defensively it can play as a security blanket for assists and changes …
… while in attack he has all kinds of discharge options if the defense closes on him. The pick and roll with Malik Monk worked especially well last night.
With so many shooting threats around, the Pacers couldn’t so easily double down on LeBron in the deciding minutes, leading to us seeing several one-on-one from the forward versus Domantas Sabonis. Although James missed some penetrations, he then ended up finishing the game with a spectacular outside shooting streak.
While AD’s return will make it impossible to close games with these types of lineups, they appear to be a deck the Lakers should add to the deck. At least as a major alternative to the null use they had been giving it. As seen against Indiana, surrounding LeBron with options that open the field for him usually brings good results.
Of course, for James it was also a special night, in which his 39 points had an extra flavor: he came from missing the game against the New York Knicks due to a suspension from the league, after the blow to Isaiah Stewart that ended in an altercation between the two. “I love this game and the fact that they played me a game generated frustration and the desire to return to the field. I liked being back with my boys and being able to make plays in the fourth quarter and in the overtime, when it was time to win.“.
And boy did he do it.
“It was very important. We had another hit this morning, when we saw that AD was not at the team meeting“, LeBron analyzed about the win. “We are not being able to be healthy. But he was excited to be back in the lineup. It was a back-to-back and I hadn’t played the night before so I had to give the guys a boost of energy“.
The Lakers, today with a 10-10 record, will return this Friday (4: 30h from Spain), returning to Staples Center to face the Sacramento Kings, while 48 hours later, LeBron and Stewart will meet again in the rematch between Los Angeles and Detroit.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its organizations.