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Report: Alex Caruso replacing Dwight Howard in Lakers’ starting lineup for Game 6 vs. Heat

Lakers, Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is replacing center Dwight Howard in the starting lineup with guard Alex Caruso for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Sunday, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

The Lakers are trying to clinch title No. 17 by winning Game 6. Los Angeles fell just short in Game 5 against Miami, losing 111-108 in an instant classic. Jimmy Butler played the hero for the Heat, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis putting up monster performances in a tough loss. Danny Green missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that could have given L.A. the championship.

With the Lakers looking for a different look in a 3-2 series, they’re going with a smaller lineup in Game 6. Howard has struggled to make an impact throughout these NBA Finals, and he was a total non-factor in Game 5. The veteran big man had just two points and two rebounds in 15 minutes.

For the series, Howard is averaging just 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per game. The Lakers have been outscored by 12 in Howard’s 70 minutes on the court against Miami.

Caruso didn’t fare much better in Game 5, going for three points, three rebounds and three assists. He’s averaging 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 23.3 minutes per game in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are a plus-4 in Caruso’s 112 Finals minutes, and his hustle and versatility is more of an asset against this Heat squad.

Caruso will join LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green in the starting lineup.

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