Lakers Shake Up Starting Lineup, Rebound with Win Over Suns
Darvin Ham’s Starting Lineup Change Pays Off
Following a decisive 122-111 victory over the Phoenix Suns, Lakers coach Darvin Ham is all smiles as he discusses his team’s success. Despite Lakers’ fans’ growing concerns, Coach Ham decided to switch up the starting lineup, replacing Malik Beasley with Austin Reaves.
Reaves responded to his promotion with a career-best 11 assists and 25 points, leading the Lakers to a victory over the Western Conference’s 4th-seeded team.
Reaves Maintains Winning Mindset
Reaves was no stranger to the new responsibility and maintained his winning attitude. He told reporters after the game that his approach never changes, and he goes into every game with one goal in mind—winning.
The Lakers are now half a game up on the Utah Jazz, sitting at the West’s 10th spot, just 1.5 games behind the Golden State Warriors with nine games remaining.
New-Look Starting Lineup Proves Potent
Reaves’ inclusion in the first team brought new energy to the Lakers squad, proving how more playmakers on the floor can create a more potent offense. Along with Reaves, Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell relentlessly pressured Phoenix’s defense, causing them to make mistakes.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” Russell said of Reaves, “the dude is good, man.”
The Lakers shot a season-high 46 free throws, with Reaves attending the line 13 times and making 12.
Beasley a Pro’s Pro
Despite being replaced in the first string, Malik Beasley had no problem coming in off the bench and ended the game with two big 3-pointers. Coach Ham commended him for being a true professional and understanding the component part of the decision.
The team outscored Phoenix in the second quarter, taking a seven-point lead into halftime. The third quarter belonged to Anthony Davis, who scored 14 points in the period.
Rounding Out The Game
The Lakers held a three-point lead going into the fourth, but the Suns cut it to 99-98 with 7:29 remaining. After employing a 10-2 run over the next two minutes, L.A. managed to take control of the game and maintain their lead.
The Lakers will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, a game with major seeding implications, where the tiebreaker is up for grabs. Coach Ham hopes that his team’s newly found energy and focus carry over to keep their playoff dreams alive.