The Los Angeles Lakers turned to small-ball in the fourth quarter of the 119-115 loss to the L.A. Clippers, hoping it would eventually allow them to take the lead for the first time that night.
Yet, the Lakers suffered a few moments of weakness in crunch time, letting the Clippers jump further ahead each time they closed the gap. Head coach Frank Vogel again switched between Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the center position, hoping to capitalize on the extra spacing and ability to switch provided by the centerless unit.
But the Purple and Gold couldn’t cope with the Clippers’ 3-point shooting, particularly the red-hot Luke Kennard. Vogel acknowledged his team failed to utilize the defensive strengths of the lineup.
“We didn’t do good enough defensively, simple way to put it,” he said. “And there was a few different coverages you can use within that. The one we used tonight has been really good, that’s what we’ve been using in that lineup. But we weren’t effective with it tonight.”
Anthony Davis agreed the recently brought-out unit with James as center has worked well for the Lakers over the past couple of weeks. Davis added the tactical gimmick doesn’t interfere with his role.
“No, no. It doesn’t change my rotation times or anything,” he said.
“I still have the same rotation minutes. I think it’s a different look with Bron being able to quarterback the defense from the five position and you’re able to switch a lot of things with him at the five and Melo at the four. It’s been working for us and coach is sticking with it.”
Vogel plans on using only one Lakers center per game moving forward
As part of Vogel’s experiments, Dwight Howard replaced DeAndre Jordan in the starting lineup for the clash with the Clippers. The coach also said he will now aim to use only one of his nominal centers every game this season.
“We made the decision a couple games ago that because trying to play both of those guys in really short minutes, it didn’t really feel easy for one to get into a rhythm,” he said.
“So we made a decision to only use one of them unless, obviously, we had foul trouble or whatnot.”
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