The Los Angeles Lakers surged past the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night with a fourth quarter that was arguably the best of their season, considering it was on the road vs. a very good Cavaliers squad.
But other than just a sorely needed win that catapulted the Lakers past the New Orleans Pelicans and back into the ninth slot in the play-in game, the victory may have revealed the Lakers’ best current lineup to close games with.
The unit of Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Wenyan Gabriel, and Stanley Johnson were a cool +85.7 net rating over the final five minutes of the game. Although that number obviously won’t hold up over a larger sample size, what the lineup showed is certain attributes and profiles that can maximize whatever the Lakers have left of this season.
Lets go through the film to review those attributes:
The potentially scarier part is that if Anthony Davis does get back and look like himself, he very much fits into this style of lineup and can rocket boost it with his unique set of skills. He also would allow Frank Vogel to use a Stanley Johnson or Wenyan Gabriel in other lineups so the team can play with these kinds of complementary profiles for longer periods of the game.
Basically, if the Lakers are going to do anything of note for the rest of this season, harnessing what they saw last night will be vital.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 4 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.