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Darvin Ham says he wanted to put ‘skill and shot-making’ around LeBron James, Anthony Davis with lineup change

With Cam Reddish out for the foreseeable future, Darvin Ham made a change to the starting lineup which helped the Lakers beat the Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With Cam Reddish out with a left knee effusion, the Lakers needed to replace him in the starting lineup. Head coach Darvin Ham is opting not just to replace Reddish in the short-term, but also keeping D'Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future.

Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, we saw this "new" starting five, the same unit featured on opening night. They found success with Russell scoring 17 points and handing out six assists while Reaves added 15 points and seven assists of his own.

The Lakers pulled out the win against the No. 2 team in the Western Conference standings, the second time they've beaten the Thunder in the last month, and looked like an elite team doing so.

During his postgame presser, Ham explained his rationale for pairing Reaves and Russell with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

"Just wanted to put as much skill and shot-making on the floor around our two captains," Ham said. "And those five, they've been pretty much our most consistent guys throughout the season so far. So, just put them together and, for the foreseeable future, that's going to be our lineup barring any kind of injury.

“I thought it went well. It was a hell of a night. Lot of contributions. Talked about everyone pouring into one another, covering one another, helping each other be great on both sides of the ball and I think we saw that tonight."

It's a small sample size, but the early returns were positive. Russell and Reaves can score and were good enough defensively to be a positive.

It's not just the starters that contributed well versus the Thunder. Rui Hachimura led the way in points off the bench with 12 and Christian Wood had 11 points, playing key minutes in the fourth to help close out the game. It's going to take both starters and reserves playing well if the Lakers are going to turn this season around.

"I think everyone giving their individual contributions," Ham said. "Both (LeBron) and AD are having All-Star caliber years once again. Just trying to find the right mixture. Injuries haven't helped at all. Different guys in and out of the lineup, it creates so much inconsistency."

"So, finally being able to have some healthy bodies – albeit Cam is out – having Rui back, having Vando back, getting his legs up under him is really, really nice, Max is an infusion of youth and energy and C-Wood, him being a backup five, him settling into that role, tonight was an indicator of the balance we hope to sustain coming off of, this was a huge win…It was great. It was a great one to get. It's been tough. But like I told them yesterday, we have a chance going forward just focusing on the business we have to take care of moving forward. But just taking everything one day at a time."

For the foreseeable future, the Lakers need to control what they can control. That means Ham optimizing his lineups and rotations and the players performing to the best of their abilities.

As this team is, they should be playing better than sub .500 ball, and with these changes and efforts like Mondays, they'll hopefully be winning more than they're losing the rest of January.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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