Wednesday night saw the Los Angeles Lakers have their complete and healthy starting lineup for the first time with D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Jarred Vanderbilt surrounding the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. And the first returns were excellent.
The bench struggles meant nothing as the Lakers’ starters combined to score 107 of the team’s 121 points in their win over the Chicago Bulls. Four of the five starters scored in double figures and the ball was moving with 19 assists between them as well.
After the contest, LeBron broke down why this starting lineup was so successful, noting how the group has multiple ballhandlers as well as the length to make things difficult for their opponents on the defensive end as well, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think the number one thing is we have multiple ballhandlers so no one has to feel like they need to handle the ball for every possession. We got shotmakers, that’s our lineup. And we have a lot of length. Myself, Vando, obviously AR and AD obviously at the rim. I mean D-Lo is actually pretty long as well, so it gives us a lot to do defensively as well.”
James, Russell and Reaves all on the court together allows for the Lakers to attack the defense from different areas of the floor. Davis can obviously handle the ball too and even Vanderbilt has shown the ability to create at times, especially in transition.
The Lakers got off to a great start in Chicago, pulling ahead by 15 points early and while the Bulls made a run, the Lakers were able to respond just fine and put things away in the fourth. LeBron and the rest of the team knows this road trip will make or break their season and they came into this contest on a mission:
“We understood the assignment. We understand every road trip is huge, but because of our season and the way things have gone this is the biggest road trip for us at this moment. They came into our building on Sunday and took advantage of us and we wanted to try to get some getback and we were able to do that.”
It isn’t often that a team gets the opportunity for immediate revenge, but the Lakers made sure not to squander that opportunity. After being embarrassed on their home court, they were able to do the same to the Bulls and get this trip kicked off the right way.
Lakers’ LeBron James jokes about Austin Reaves liking Kobe Bryant more than him growing up
Despite all of the great basketball the Lakers played on Wednesday, the biggest talking point afterwards came courtesy of Austin Reaves hitting Patrick Beverley with the ‘too small’ gesture late in the contest. After Beverley did so to LeBron James on Sunday, Reaves repaid the favor and LeBron was appreciative.
When asked about it, LeBron said that it was proof that Reaves had his back, before jokingly adding that Reaves loved Kobe Bryant more than himself while growing up. But LeBron would end by saying that he forgives Reaves for that.
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