The Los Angeles Lakers again struggled to shoot, falling 113-97 to the Houston Rockets with LeBron James and Alex Caruso held out of the game due to injuries. Considering the absence of two important players in his rotations, it was obvious Lakers head coach Frank Vogel would make changes to the starting lineup.
He decided to use the opportunity to experiment with the roster even more as his search for solutions to the team’s shooting struggles and inconsistency continues. Vogel started the game with Anthony Davis as the center and Kyle Kuzma at 4, leaving JaVale McGee out of the Rockets clash.
Talen Horton-Tucker and Jared Dudley also saw their rotation minutes increased. But Vogel, who did not rule out potential changes to the lineup earlier this week, said his game plan adjustments in the Houston loss were not a long-term solution.
“Really, it doesn’t have anything to do with how we played the last couple games offensively,” he said.
“You collect sample size in the regular season for things that work and don’t work against certain matchups. This is something I felt like I wanted to do. Obviously, with LeBron being out, that changes it as well.”
Vogel reiterated he is still deciding what roles new roster additions could play for the Lakers this season. He previously lauded Dion Waiters for adding an extra layer to the team’s offense and has now praised Horton-Tucker, who finished the Rockets game with 10 points and four steals.
But when asked whether he would start testing a playoff-like rotation in the remaining three seeding games, Vogel refused to give a definite answer. However, he said health would be the key factor in any decision he makes.
“We’ll see game by game if it makes sense to play a potential playoff rotation,” Vogel said. “We’re still experimenting a little bit, we have some guys dinged up, health is going to be the top priority. We’ll see how those games play out day by day.”
‘Percentages will come around’
Vogel is comfortable with the Lakers missing shots in the seeding games because he believes the team’s work in and out of the gym will soon pay off. He detailed the Lakers study film every day to learn about the way they execute shots, and do shooting drills despite limited practice time.
“We did some things better offensively to create better looks and to not take bad shots,” Vogel said after the loss to the Rockets. “If we commit to shot quality and continue to do our work in the gym, the percentages will come around.”
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