Head Coach Mike D’Antoni On Robert Sacre: He Can Play

In the Lakers 99-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets, Robert Sacre played eight minutes for the Lakers in the first half — his first game minutes since since recording six in a blowout win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Before that, Sacre had only recorded a combined 13 minutes in blowout losses to the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks.

With Chris Kaman sitting out the last few games due to back soreness, many wondered if Sacre would find his way into the rotation, and he did tonight recording two points, a rebound and a block in his first eight minutes of meaningful basketball this season. Head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters after the game that Sacre earned tonight’s minutes.

“He can give us something that we need. He gives us great interior defense. He’s a big body and he’s worked his behind off. He’s been getting more athletic. We’ve been talking about it for two weeks, he can play. If he can play, it’s up to me in the sense that I have to have enough courage to go ahead and do it.”

Should Sacre continue to play well in practice, he could find himself playing a more defined role off the bench — especially if reserve forward Shawne Williams continues to struggle in his role.

Williams played 25 minutes tonight and shot 1-7 from the field, 1-5 from three point land with four points and 10 rebounds. The night before against Washington, he was 1-7 from the field and 0-4 from three. Williams was brought in to stretch the floor, but is only shooting .328 from three point range on the season, and has only been shooting .219 over the last five games.

Sacre could also receive spot minutes if D’Antoni is going to cut down the minutes of Pau Gasol. Gasol has been averaging nearly 35 minutes over the last seven games after only recording about 27.9 over the first nine. Kaman’s injury issues have had a lot to do with Gasol’s rise in minutes, but an improving Sacre can cut down on that until Kaman is fully healthy.

Regardless of the reason, it won’t hurt to have an extra body that can contribute in spot minutes over the course of an 82-game season.

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