The Los Angeles Lakers were painfully shorthanded when they faced off against the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday. Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince and Gabe Vincent were all out for the night, moving Cam Reddish — a fringe rotation player — to the starting lineup in the fifth game of the season. He started alongside the typical four of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell.
And yet, with all of those absences, the Lakers found a way to win. They did so in part because of the contributions of Reddish. Despite finishing with only eight points on 2-for-7 from the field, Reddish hauled in three steals and a block while dishing out four assists. He was a consummate teammate playing in support of the stars that helped lead L.A. to a victory over their hallway rivals.
Davis spoke about what Reddish brought to the Lakers on Wednesday and believes it needs to be replicated moving forward regardless of his role in order for him to have success.
“Exactly what he did tonight. Obviously played a lot more minutes because Taurean and Gabe were out and Rui as well,” Davis said. “But I told him on the bench, no matter if it’s 40 minutes, 10 minutes, 12 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever, you got to have this effect on the game.
“He came out defensively getting steals, great contests even though they were making shots. Playing well offensively, attacking the basket. Missed the dunk on Zubac but just the aggressiveness that he had tonight is what we’re gonna need from him.”
The Lakers have taken pride in recent seasons in their ability to get the most out of budget free agent signings. They have taken players coming from less than favorable situations on cheap contracts and helping them blossom into a better player.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about opportunity,” Davis said. “Cam in Portland, New York, didn’t really have an opportunity to really play. Obviously we knew how talented he was coming out of Duke. Same with Jaxson in New Orleans. It just wasn’t time and we get them over here and now they have opportunities to go out and be effective and help us get wins.
“Now they got to stay confident and just be ready to play. It’s always a next man up mentality and you just never know when your number is going to be called. I think that’s why Rob was able to do what he did this summer and go get depth just for that purpose. It showed tonight, especially with Cam. It’s all about opportunity and now that we know what Cam brings to our team, which we already knew but now he’s shown it, we’re gonna expect that for him no matter how many minutes he’s playing.
“He has to bring that same intensity every night and same with Jaxson. The thing that they have to understand too is that it’s a long season but we’re obviously still trying to figure out rotations. But no matter how many minutes you play, you got to come in and be ready to make an impact on the game and both of them did that tonight.”
The Lakers appear as though they may be shorthanded for a little while, with Vanderbilt, Hachimura and Vincent on the mend for what could be more than a handful of games. But if Reddish can continue to show up on the defensive end of the floor the way he did on Wednesday, the Lakers may be able to survive the storm.
Vincent to be re-evaluated in two weeks
The Lakers announced that Vincent will re-evaluated in two weeks with left knee effusion, putting him out for at least the next handful of games.
The Lakers begin a four-game road trip on Saturday night against the Orlando Magic that also includes games against his former team, the Miami Heat, as well as the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns.
Vincent missed the Lakers’ game on Wednesday night against the Clippers after suffering the knee injury in the win over the Magic on Monday. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said that his knee swelled up and after being evaluated, the injury is serious enough that he will miss some time.
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