Saturday’s matinee game saw the Los Angeles Lakers break out a new starting lineup against the Clippers. With Ivica Zubac out for the year, Larry Nance Jr. got his first start of the season as Luke Walton chose to go small.
Rookie Brandon Ingram also returned after missing three games as the Lakers rolled out a starting lineup of all young players as Nance and Ingram joined D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle.
With the Lakers set to play again on Sunday afternoon, head coach Luke Walton plans to keep the same lineup moving forward according to Tania Ganguli of the LA Times:
Luke Walton says the starting lineup will likely remain the same for tomorrow's game. Will depend on how Ingram feels.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 1, 2017
Ingram certainly looked fine on the court as he picked up right where he left off in his return. In 24 minutes Ingram totaled 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists while shooting 7-14 from the field. Even though he dealt with foul trouble for most of the game, he looked every part of a future star in this league in the second half.
Overall, the new starting lineup brought mixed results for the Lakers. It was certainly tough for Nance and Randle to match up with the much bigger DeAndre Jordan, but they battled hard all night. Unfortunately the Lakers fell behind 17-0 before waking up and making the game competitive.
Facing off against the Grizzlies on Sunday will be a much different, but no less difficult test. Nonetheless the smaller lineup gives the Lakers more speed overall and the ability to switch most pick-and-roll situations. The last few games of this season are about experimenting and trying out new things. This small lineup is one that many have been wanting to see and now they have the opportunity.