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Film Study: The Lakers’ new-look starting lineup

The Lakers’ new starting lineup demolished the Bulls. Let's take a closer look at their play and why it worked.

Los Angeles Lakers v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have been through the wringer with their roster this season, whether due to injuries or the massive trade deadline deals that completely shook up the team. Inherent with that instability has been a number of different starting lineups (and rotations in general) as well as uncertainty, most recently leading to the inclusion of one Austin Reaves to help balance the group.

However, the team may have finally formed and found their Voltron five vs. the Chicago Bulls, as they finally fielded a nearly fully healthy team — outside of Mo Bamba, who continues to rehab from a high ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated next week — and started, in my opinion, their best possible starting lineup:

D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

This starting group — a combination that had only seen seven minutes together prior to this game — was a gargantuan +35 vs. the Bulls’ starters (who, mind you, were 8-2 as starters prior to this game). Despite that, they essentially blew the game open twice during different parts of the game, first building a 17-point lead in the first quarter before an all-bench lineup saw it dwindle back to three points. Then the starters built their advantage back to 18 points in the second half before a near-all bench lineup gave away all-but-seven points of that advantage (and to be fair were still able to stabilize it and still win the third quarter +1 overall).

I took a closer look at the film to see what made the new starters so effective:

It’s obviously only been one game and you’re not going to see many +35 differentials, but the balance and blueprint for this starting lineup is certainly there, and even more exciting is that showed it in their first game together; that type of chemistry and cohesion will only grow as they get more minutes together and generate a better feel for one another.

It’s certainly a great start and we’ll see what they can do on Friday night. Coach Darvin Ham and the coaching staff certainly got this one right, let's hope they can figure out the rest of the rotations just as well.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, is a youth basketball coach at the U12 level 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. Combining his background in biomechanics, movement science, and learning science - he consults in a variety of sports including basketball on movement mechanics and skill acquisition. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC and analyzes the Lakers from a skills & medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.

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