Head coach Darvin Ham certainly made a bold move ahead of Saturday’s “must-win” game against the Thunder by not only changing the lineup but doing so with a very unconventional change.
By taking D’Angelo Russell out of the lineup for Jarred Vanderbilt, the offense took a hit on paper in favor of defense. While it was a single game, the gamble paid off as the Lakers earned the victory against Oklahoma City and, for stretches of the game, looked dominant.
After the contest, Ham spoke about what he saw from the new lineup.
“Just having that size and physicality out there,” Ham said, “being able to switch on pick and rolls basically one through five was really, really, really good. They got hot, extremely hot, in the first quarter, making six threes. We weathered that storm but bounced back with a great defensive quarter in the second quarter and we buckled down and set a tone for the rest of the game. Came out and had a good third quarter. It got a little tight, they made a little run late but, overall, we maintained our composure and were able to get things we wanted to get on both sides of the ball.”
As much focus as there was on the starting lineup, it was only tied for the most common lineup used on Saturday. Single-game net ratings should be taken with massive grains of salt, but the new starting lineup had a +9.7 rating on Saturday. Now, there were a lot of factors that played into that which may not be sustainable, so it’s hard to have too much of a judgment on it yet.
Don’t do the single game results ORtg/DRtgs/Net thing with the new starting lineup!— Krampus (Cranjis) McBasketball (@Tim_NBA) December 24, 2023
Looking more granularly:
OKC shot 60% on FTs and 20% on 3s against it, while going 7/8 on 2s.
LA shot 35% on 2s (but 50% on 3s and 100% on FTs).
I’ll check the shot quality from my logging.
It’ll be quite the stress test for this new-look starting lineup and rotation.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.