Frank Vogel rolled out yet another starting lineup on Tuesday, this time starting LeBron James and Anthony Davis the 4 and 5 alongside Russell Westbrook, Avery Bradley and Talen Horton-Tucker. Unsurprisingly, that lineup didn’t exactly give the Celtics problems, but it ultimately didn’t matter because of how dominant James was.
With three days of rest under his belt, James lit the Celtics up for 30 points, 18 of which he scored in the first, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. James’ contributions were especially important in the first half because Anthony Davis was slow to get going,.
Fortunately, Davis looked much better in the second half: he didn’t settle for jumpers and on defense, he was as active as he’s been all season. Davis’ energy was clearly infectious, as the Lakers locked in on the defensive end in the third quarter, which unlocked the best of Westbrook on both ends of the floor — and when the Big Three is engaged, the Lakers are a hard team to beat.
Davis wasn’t the only one that bounced back in the second half. Talen Horton-Tucker looked more comfortable with the starters after an awkward first half. Horton-Tucker’s always going to have some value to the team because of his defense, but in order for him to justify his spot in the starting lineup, he has to be involved — and efficient — on both ends of the floor. Tuesday was a great step.
The Lakers will hop on a plane to Memphis on Wednesday to take on the Grizzlies for the first game of their road back-to-back. The Grizzlies are in the midst of a five-game winning streak without Ja Morant, so hopefully it’s a fun one.