The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their third consecutive game, losing to the Dallas Mavericks in dispiriting fashion on Saturday night.
The Lakers started off the game well and turned it up in the second quarter, building up a 17-point lead at one point and looking well on their way to a solid win. However, the wheels fell off in the second half as their offense went ice cold from the field while defensively they had no answer for Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell pick-and-rolls.
With Anthony Davis back in the lineup, head coach Frank Vogel made the interesting decision to bring Marc Gasol off the bench as the backup center instead of Montrezl Harrell. Gasol wound up playing 18 minutes after sitting out the last three games and in his postgame comments admitted that the current situation regarding the centers is difficult to stomach.
“It’s not an ideal situation for anybody,” Gasol said. “I’m sure that just being in that situation and not playing for a few games, nobody likes that.
“But it’s whatever the coach wants us to do and we’re gonna try to execute and do the best possible and stay ready and work the days that you don’t have a game where you’re normally planning to play. But it’s not ideal, as players you always like to know the consistency of when you’re gonna play, how you’re gonna play. But it’s a very deep team and if Coach [Vogel] wants to play three guys or two guys for one spot, it’s gonna take a lot of buying in.”
Gasol seems to be keeping the right attitude and added that it is up to Vogel to figure out the center minutes, but each player is prepared to play no matter what.
“You guys are asking the wrong guys [laughs]. It’s the coach’s decision, coach’s call, he can tell you right before the game like it happened, you never know. As a player you try to stay ready all the time, try to do the same things that you do and prepare yourself as like you’re gonna play a lot. Sometimes it doesn’t go that way, so don’t ask me, I just work here [laughs].”
There was a stretch of games where Gasol looked like he was in line for more minutes, but Vogel reiterated that Andre Drummond would remain the starter. Drummond was the Lakers’ prized midseason acquisition and it sounded like his decision to join the team was contingent on a starting spot, and so far that has been the case.
The gluttony of big men Los Angeles has is a good problem to have as it gives them versatility and options come playoff time. However, it is challenging for players to get into a rhythm if they are not seeing consistent minutes, so it is a difficult tightrope for Vogel to navigate.
While this will likely not be an issue for the Purple and Gold in the postseason, it will be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out in the final 12 games.
Vogel explains decision to sit Montrezl Harrell
It was a shock to see Harrell benched for a game given what he provides on the court, but Vogel explained his decision after the loss to the Mavericks.
“Keeping all three centers sharp. You got a back-to-back situation with Dallas and you’ve just got to look and see how those guys look in this matchup. But like I said, we believe in all three centers and we need to keep all three centers sharp. That’s all.”
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