Lakers News: Anthony Davis Discusses Importance Of Win Over Pelicans Before All-Star Break
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were able to go into the All-Star break with a victory as the team was at full strength for the first time since the trade deadline. Head coach Darvin Ham broke out a new starting lineup with deadline additions D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The result was an excellent one as the Lakers dominated the second half on the way to an 18-point victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. It was Davis who led the way offensively, finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. But most importantly, Davis was happy the team was able to get a win going into All-Star Weekend.

“Oh, that was good,” Davis said after the win. “One for us to get on the winning side of things going into break. Feel good about ourselves and not let a loss kind of just linger over the next six, seven days. Feel good about ourselves today until just standard purposes.”

The Lakers now go into the All-Star break with momentum, extremely important considering the run they will need to go on to make a playoff run. But the biggest talking point is the new starting lineup and Davis believes the spacing it provided benefitted everyone.

“Oh, yeah. Having DLo and Beas out there spacing the floor. And Vando just know how to play,” the Lakers big man added. “Rebounding and he’s cutting and getting behind a defense. And we’re able to exploit the defenses with his ability to move around a basket and get lobs, and you can get a little dump-offs as well.

“So there’s a few things that we figured out tonight. There was a couple actions that we might want to get to that lineup on the floor. And also with different lineups when you bring in DS and Austin [Reaves], Troy [Brown Jr.] and Rui. We got depth and them guys played well tonight, too.”

Depth is something the Lakers did not have much of just a couple of weeks ago. But the additions of Russell, Vanderbilt, Beasley and Bamba have given Ham different options and lineups he can turn to. There is more optimism and joy surrounding this team and Davis feels that as well.

“Yeah, I mean, we played with a lot of joy, and in Portland didn’t go as well,” the Lakers big man added. “They just made everything they shot. But I think tonight it was a huge emphasis on just getting this win. And we just came out playing with a lot urgency and energy. And guys had fun.

“We came up with gates running, flying, no plays called. We’re getting stops. Just running and things of that nature. So anytime we can just play free, get stops and run. It’s always fun.”

There will still be a learning process as everyone gets used to each other, but the talent is there and the Lakers showed what they are capable of on Wednesday night.

Darvin Ham changed starting lineup to create ‘balance’ for Lakers

Darvin Ham had recently said that he planned on starting Russell with Dennis Schroder in the backcourt, but that obviously wasn’t the case. And when asked why he made the change, Ham pointed to creating more balance with the team’s lineups and rotations.

“I think it was just about trying to create as much balance as we possibly could,” Ham said. “Same thought process at the beginning of the year. There’s gonna be games Dennis [Schroder] and DLo finish together. But I think just moving down into that second unit, along with Troy [Brown Jr.], Rui, those guys have a great synergy together, our new guys that come in, particularly, you know, Beas, DLo, and Vando, and putting those guys with Bron and AD, and it worked out. I thought we had a well-balanced attack.

Things definitely looked good for the Lakers in this first contest at full strength and now they will look to build on that momentum following the All-Star break.

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