For the sixth time in nine games, the Los Angeles Lakers had a new starting lineup. Without the services of Steve Nash for at least the next two weeks, head coach Mike D’Antoni inserted Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill into the lineup earlier in the day.
Then, about 30 minutes before tip-off, Wesley Johnson was told he was starting in place of Nick Young as the Lakers wanted more length and athleticism in the starting unit. Talking after the game to TWC SportsNet, Mike D’Antoni commented on the Lakers impressive 116-95 win over the Pelicans:
They realized today what it means to win. I think Jordan in the first group helps and Wesley Johnson, set the tone defensively. I think everyone contributed and we had different guys come through.
Hill rewarded D’Antoni by setting a career high with 21 points while Johnson gave the Lakers length on the wings and helped disrupt Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis.
D’Antoni was asked about whether or not the Lakers would keep the same lineup going forward, but was quick to say that he’s said several times after games that would be the starting unit moving forward. After allowing 47 points in the first quarter against the Timberwolves on Sunday, the Lakers energy was evident in their blowout win.
The Lakers will now head to Denver tonight as they’ll face the Nuggets on a back-to-back and if they want to give themselves a chance, they need to continue to play with the same energy they did tonight.
ICYMI: Pau Gasol voiced his frustrations about his slow start to the season.