Anthony Davis will make his return to the starting lineup in Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns, according to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that Davis would be a game-time decision during his pregame media availability, and it appears as though the medical staff cleared him to play.
Also making his return to the starting lineup on Thursday will be Marc Gasol, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Lakers are planning to move Marc Gasol into the starting lineup in place of Andre Drummond, sources tell me and @jovanbuha.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 4, 2021
Gasol was famously moved to the bench when the Lakers signed Andre Drummond in April, but with elimination a realistic possibility in Game 6, it seems Vogel is going with the starting lineup that has the most experience together: Dennis Schröder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, Davis and Gasol. In the regular season, that starting lineup posted a net rating of +13.9.
Vogel didn’t reveal his starting lineup during his pregame media availability, but he did talk about the process behind making such a gutsy decision in an elimination game.
“It’s not difficult,” Vogel said. “Everybody understands that each game is going to be different throughout a series with adjustments. It’s going to be a chess match, and all of our players understand that.
“What goes into it? The analysis of the previous game. What are we not doing well enough, and how can we improve that area? Whether it’s matchups, whether it’s lineups, whether it’s offensive package, whether it’s defensive schemes, you evaluate all of it and you make the necessary adjustments.”
Neither adjustment that Vogel ultimately made is a fix-all change — Gasol hasn’t done particularly well in the last two games and Davis will be playing through the groin injury that kept him out of Game 5 — but they’re tweaks that, on paper, put the Lakers in the best position to win Game 6 and extend this first-round series to a win-or-go-home Game 7.
The Lakers and Suns will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. PT and the game will be nationally broadcast on TNT, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.