By Eric Lambkins II
Sports Reporter 

Bigger lineups help Lakers stay competitive

 

March 14, 2024

Jevone Moore

The Lakers Anthony Davis drives to the basketball against the Dallas Mavericks during a game this season at the Cryto.com Arena

In a time where the NBA courts echo with the rhythm of small ball and three-pointers, the Los Angeles Lakers stand as a defiant testament, asserting that there's more than one way to win. The Lakers are proving that playing big can help your team win games. Using 7"0 Jaxson Hayes and 6"8 Rui Hachimura along with the 6"10 Anthony Davis has helped the Lakers stay competitive in the Western Conference.

Over their last five clashes, the Lakers have stood tall against the league's giants, tallying up a respectable 3-2 record and defeating the Clippers, Thunder, and Bucks. But they dropped a game against Denver in the waning moments, having lost to them eight straight times, and they failed to close out against Sacramento. The adventure is watching the team trying to figure out how to move up in the tough Western Conference.

"Regardless of who we're playing, being the best version of ourselves, that's all we've been talking about ... how great can we be?" head coach Darvin Ham said. "When we're going out and performing like we know we are capable of, we like our chances, to say the least."

Sunday's showdown pitted the Lakers against a formidable foe: the Minnesota Timberwolves. Even without Karl-Anthony Towns the Wolves tested Los Angeles' resilience. In a gritty battle, the Lakers stood victorious, toppling the sprightly contenders 112-96.

Both teams traded blows throughout the game, with the Lakers showcasing their mettle. But as the clock ticked on, the Timberwolves met every Lakers' blow with a counterattack. They capitalized on sharpshooting from downtown, relentless offensive rebounding, and exploiting Lakers turnovers. Yet, amidst the chaos, Los Angeles found solace in the towering presence of Anthony Davis.

Davis stood tall despite facing a barrage of challenges, towering over the competition. He defied history, dominating the court and leaving his mark amidst a forest, becoming the first player to amass 27 points, 25 rebounds, and seven steals since the league began keeping track of steals. It was a performance that transcended his physical stature, embodying the heart and determination of the Lakers.

"When we're out there having fun, everybody's confidence is high," Davis said. "When we're talking trash to the other team, we're holding each other accountable, and we're just playing the right way. We know what it takes. It's just about having the consistency of playing that way each and every night." Yet, the Lakers often need help to fully exploit their strengths, wavering between moments of brilliance and inconsistency.

But when they synchronize, as they've shown in recent weeks, they unveil a level of play that rivals the best in the league. Davis and Hayes utilize their towering stature and unyielding length to disrupt opposing offenses, showcasing the undeniable advantage that size brings to the game.

Jevone Moore

"This team is No. 2 in the West, and still a good team," Davis said. "Obviously, they're missing key parts of their team, but they still have guys who can make plays, and they still find a way to win ballgames. We just wanted to come out as a team effort and knowing that wherever we are in the standings and how important this game was, trying to close the gap in the standings."

The Lakers are currently 36-31 which puts them in nineth place in the Western Conference. On Saturday they face the Warriors at home at 5:30 p.m. On Monday they stay at home and play the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, March 22, they continue their home stand with a date with the 76ers at 7:30 p.m.

 

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