2 takeaways from Lakers win over Thunder
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
The Lakers came away with a 112-105 win over the number two seed Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Darvin Ham returned to his opening night starting lineup with D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Taurean Prince, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.
The lineup performed well, and Ham utilized the entire rotation well. LA played nine guys in their rotation, and six of them scored in double figures.
The Lakers needed a win and are now 20-21, putting them back in 10th place in the Western Conference. They are now back in the Play-In, if the season were to end today. The Purple and Gold are on a long homestand, and it’s important to capitalize and go on a winning streak.
Let’s dive into two takeaways from the Lakers win over the Thunder.
DOWN GO THE 2-SEED THUNDER 😈 pic.twitter.com/d31tvexaJP— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) January 16, 2024
The Lakers' new starting lineup will remain long-term
Going back to the starting lineup from opening night was successful for the LakeShow. This team has struggled to find continuity as Ham has constantly changed his rotations and starting lineups.
They are now going with a lineup and rotation that looks optimized for the current roster. Anthony Davis led the way with 27 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block. He shot 9-17 from the field and 9-10 from the free-throw line. Davis was elite on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
LeBron James also had a good game, finishing with 25 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. In his second straight start, D'Angelo Russell had 14 points, six assists, two steals, and a block, while Austin Reaves was a team-high +9 with 15 points and seven dimes.
Rui Hachimura had 12 points and two blocks off the bench, while Christian Wood had 11 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.
Ham’s utilized the players well against Oklahoma City and will need to keep that up.
Jarred Vanderbilt says he believes “internally”the Lakers “are capable” of a second-half turnaround like last year without any big trades to shake things up pic.twitter.com/mS6bJS7FcC— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 15, 2024
Jarred Vanderbilt is finding his groove
Jarred Vanderbilt had a rough start to the season, as he dealt with injuries and hasn’t been the same player. However, in Monday’s game, Vanderbilt looked like the player he was last season.
He was an elite defender and very impactful in his 18 minutes. The 24-year-old finished with five points, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Vanderbilt’s defense is very impactful for the Lakers, and he helped limit Oklahoma City’s elite offense to 105 points in the game.
With Vanderbilt finding his rhythm and Ham using his rotation well, the Lakers could go on a much-needed winning streak and turn around this season.