Update in Italics: Pau Gasol suffered a relapse of vertigo and was unable to leave his hotel room. He was ruled out of Tuesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. Chris Kaman, who was expected to start alongside the Spaniard, has a sore calf and is considered a game-time decision.
If Kaman can play, Kaman will start. However, Kaman was considered most likely out.
Regardless of whether Kaman starts, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill expect to see extended time on the floor. Hill and Kelly were expected to move into the starting five. With Kelly starting, the team will look to spread the floor and take advantage of a power forward with range. This is the coach’s preferred style of stretching the floor.
Sacre will be the Lakers' only big man off the bench, so Wesley Johnson may see some time at power forward.
The Lakers' game plan (as described in the original preview below) is out the window at this point, so D'Antoni can start just about anyone at this point.
The Los Angeles Lakers started their 33rd different lineup of the season on Tuesday, and it did not look quite right. The Lakers lost, but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni hinted that he would stay with his twin towers of Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol for Wednesday’s game in Sacramento.
“I wasn’t confident out there. I wasn’t assertive enough to make aggressive moves or turns. When I turned my head a couple times, everything was still shaking,” Pau Gasol said after Tuesday’s game. “Maybe it was a little too early.”
Gasol missed over a week with vertigo and dizziness that sent him to the hospital. For Wednesday’s game, Gasol would not fully commit to playing but did say he hoped to feel better.
“Well, we’re down 10 (points) each time we did it,” D’Antoni said referring to his lineup featuring the two 7-footers playing in tandem. “Again, Pau’s just coming off vertigo. It could be a little bit of that.”
Both Kaman and Gasol acknowledged that the lineup featuring the twin towers had not looked good on Tuesday night. On the night, the team was down 18 points during Gasol’s time on the court. One point worse, Kaman’s time on the floor saw the Lakers trail by a net of 19 points.
Still, D’Antoni was willing to give the duo another try.
“We’ll probably stick with it,” D’Antoni said it would be difficult to change lineups on the second night of a back-to-back without a practice or shootaround available. “I’m sure Pau will have a better outing, as he gets over his vertigo and stuff.”
On Wednesday night in Sacramento, the Lakers will likely start Kaman and Gasol for only the fifth time this season. With three losses in four games thus far, the combination does not appear to be the miracle cure-all that fans hoped it would be.
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“I just didn’t think it went that well, to be honest,” Kaman admitted. “It didn’t work the way I thought it would. It was a little funky.”
“I was real confused with where I was trying to be,” Kaman concluded.
Although the final eight games are largely meaningless for the Lakers, Wednesday’s game in Sacramento has draft lottery implications. With a win, the Lakers would be tied with the Sacramento Kings for sixth and seventh worst record in the NBA. Whereas the Lakers looked like contenders for the third worst record in the league a few weeks ago, the home stretch could see the Lakers fall as far back as seventh or even eighth in the NBA draft lottery standings.
As painful as they may be to watch, losses are more helpful than wins at this stage.