One of the many knocks on Mike D’Antoni from Los Angeles Lakers fans this season, aside from his poor record as head coach, is the Lakers lack of defense. But what should be a major concern for Laker fans is this, D’Antoni’s unwillingness to use a deep bench. D’Antoni used eight guys last night, and that was a big stretch by his standards.
But what D’Antoni doesn’t seem to realize is that the bulk of the Lakers roster is old. Having them play a huge amount of minutes in a game, then doing the same in the second game of a back-to-back, is not a formula for a win. In fact it is one of the reasons why the Lakers have not swept a back-to-back all season, the first time this has happened in the history of the Lakers.
On Tuesday, D’Antoni will need to go deeper than just eight guys. He needs to use everyone who is ready. I don’t care if it’s Darius Morris, Robert Sacre, or even Devin Ebanks, just a few minutes of rest, especially in the second half, for your key guys is crucial. Kobe Bryant, 34 years old, is playing an insane amount of minutes. Replacing his scoring off the bench is impossible to do, but he needs to rest.
What has been extremely noticeable in the Lakers back-to-back losses this season is their inability to sustain a high level of play throughout a game. The dip in production from the starters, and usual bench players, usually begins around the second half, an indication of being tired. Many of Kobe’s shots are either too short, legs are tired, or too long, forcing the situation because he knows he’s tired.
If D’Antoni uses the somewhat decent bench the Lakers have, they should be able to beat the Portland Trail Blazers quite easily tonight.
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