Anthony Davis likes the Lakers closing lineup used against Trail Blazers

Anthony Davis
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 10: Head Coach, Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers shares a conversation with player, Anthony Davis #3 during the game against the Toronto Raptors on November 10, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony Davis and the Lakers fell to 2-2 last night, losing 115-107 to their familiar foes, the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers actually held an 85-84 lead going into the fourth quarter, getting outscored 31-22 in the final frame. It was actually the first game in the past 60 that the Lakers dropped after having a lead going into the fourth. The streak was built up through the entirety of the 2019-20 season.

The Lakers played the majority of the fourth quarter with a lineup that included Davis-Harrell-LeBron-Caldwell-Pope-Schröder. Per PopcornMachine.Net, that lineup did go on an 8-0 run midway through the fourth to make it a 99-98 Trail Blazers lead. However, the Trail Blazers then went on a 13-4 run just like they did to open the fourth quarter, putting the game away.

After the game, Anthony Davis spoke glowingly of that lineup while calling it their “finishing lineup”, although the lineup couldn’t deliver the results the Lakers were looking for Monday night (per Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll).

The most obvious change that could have been made to this closing lineup is swapping out Montrezl Harrell for Marc Gasol, who did not play at all in the fourth quarter. Gasol only played 19 minutes in the game compared to Harrell’s 27, as Vogel liked what he was seeing from Harrell even though he registered a -20 box plus/minus in the game (second-worst only to Kyle Kuzma’s -23).

In regards to his options and what he wants to do with that closing lineup, Frank Vogel said the following (per Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll):

“We’re a new team, so we’re going to continue to look at different things with Marc or Trezz finishing, or we have the ability to slide AD over to the five. I hadn’t had Keef in the game because I wanted to have a ballhandler in there with ‘Bron during that stretch that Keef normally plays, and he would have been cold if I’d put him in late. I like the lineup that we had out there, but we just weren’t able to get the job done.”

Even though it seems that Davis and Vogel both liked that five-man lineup used in the waning moments of the fourth, expect the Lakers to experiment with closing lineups throughout the first half of this season. You could end up having Gasol or Markieff Morris in there instead of Harrell, and who knows if Vogel may opt for defense in the future in Caruso over Schröder (Caruso was unavailable for last night’s game).

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