The Los Angeles Lakers are making a change to the starting lineup in Game 6, electing to go small by starting guard Alex Caruso over centre Dwight Howard.
One year ago Alex Caruso was playing in the G League.- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 11, 2020
Tonight he's starting in the #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/hI6ozRcIDC
The change comes as a surprise with the Lakers leading in the series but head coach Frank Vogel must feel adjustments were needed to be made following Game 5's loss.
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Howard began this postseason coming of the bench - as he did for all but two games in the regular season - but had played his way into the starting lineup by bringing energy on defence and on the glass. He's been largely ineffective in The Finals, though, averaging 3.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game, so it's reasonable for Vogel to feel that a change was necessary.
Caruso sliding into the starting lineup means that Anthony Davis will now play centre, which could act as a domino effect in having LeBron James defend the Miami Heat's red hot superstar Jimmy Butler, as opposed to Davis who guarded Butler in Games 3 and 4.
Caruso had only started two games all regular season and has yet to start a playoff game.
In the two games he started this season, Caruso averaged 7.0 points, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 rebounds per game but shot an inefficient 38.5% from the field and 33.3% from 3-point range. The Lakers lost both of those contests.
However, he's been solid in The Finals, stepping up as one of Los Angeles premier perimeter defenders while averaging 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game shooting a much-improved 47.8% from the field and 42.9% from 3.
Will the lineup change give the Lakers the juice they need to close this series out? We will see.
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