Lakers News: Austin Reaves Breaks Down What Stood Out From New Additions In Win Over Warriors
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers unveiled their refined roster in a win against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Two Lakers made their debuts in purple in gold — Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt — and D’Angelo Russell began his second stint as a Laker.

With just two days removed from the trade deadline, implementing three new faces could have posed a challenge. It seemed that they fit in nicely in their first game with the Lakers, however. Darvin Ham mixed up the rotations and starting lineups. He inserted Russell into the first five while Beasley and Vanderbilt came off the bench.

Russell finished with 15 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds for a team-high plus-12. Vanderbilt was a ball of energy off the bench, finishing with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in 17 minutes. Beasley struggled as he shot 22% from the field with 4 points.

The newcomers were a key part of the Lakers’ road victory. Austin Reaves explained to Spectrum SportsNet postgame how the team utilized the new faces in the lineup and got acquainted on the floor despite not having a practice beforehand:

“Really just try to play basketball. Move it, get off of it, screen, cut, play in transition. All of us have been playing basketball for a long time. So the message was we don’t really know each other so let’s just move it and whoever’s open, shoot it.”

There obviously will be an acclimation period for Russell, Vanderbilt and Beasley. Mo Bamba, who missed the game due to a suspension, should also join the Lakers after the All-Star break. His addition creates more shuffling around in the rotation.

Ham played 10 men on Saturday, therefore, he will have to make some tough decisions once Bamba and LeBron James return. But, it’s no secret that the roster changes brought positive results.

Reaves broke down what initially stood out from the new guys:

“Just the way they play. It’s good basketball. They’ve obviously all played together so that helps quite a bit because they’re going to be in rotations together and then you kind of just got to piece around that. They were big tonight. Vando off the bench had 12 points, however many rebounds, but it was all the energy plays that stood out to all of us. We’re happy with what everybody can bring to the table and it’s just going to get better the way we mesh together these next couple weeks and moving forward from there.”

The upcoming All-Star break offers extra time for the new Lakers to get acclimated with the playbook and organization. Unfortunately for L.A., they can’t waste much time as they sit two games back of the final play-in spot.

Anthony Davis was in constant communication with D’Angelo Russell against Warriors

The Lakers’ victory against the Warriors on Saturday required key contributions from a former Laker — D’Angelo Russell. The eight-year guard is still trying to figure out his role on the team, but seemed comfortable on the court.

Anthony Davis, who had a quiet game offensively, told reporters that he and Russell were in constant communication during the game. Davis, Russell and LeBron were even breaking down how the offense would work once the King is back in the lineup.

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