Big moves coming for Lakers in Game 6 vs. Suns, per Frank Vogel
The Los Angeles Lakers will have Anthony Davis (groin strain) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (knee soreness) for Game 6 vs. the Phoenix Suns, while Andre Drummond will come off the bench in favor of Marc Gasol on Thursday night at Staples Center.
The Lakers are planning to move Marc Gasol into the starting lineup in place of Andre Drummond, sources tell me and @jovanbuha.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 4, 2021
In his pre-game media session, Frank Vogel said Davis would meet with the Lakers’ medical team before an official decision was made. About 30 minutes later, TNT’s Chris Haynes reported Davis was expected to play.
Davis injured his groin before halftime of Game 4 and was forced to sit out Game 5 at Phoenix Suns Arena after testing out his mobility in warm-ups.
Caldwell-Pope missed Game 4 and exited the Suns’ 115-85 win in Game 5 in the second half. Vogel confirmed KCP would give it a go in his pre-game remarks. KCP is 1-of-13 from three-point range this series.
The Lakers officially confirmed the starting lineup 30 minutes before tip-off.
Lakers confirm: AD, KCP, Gasol, LeBron, and Schroder for Game 6. Andre Drummond to the bench. pic.twitter.com/jT6BvucPyV
— michael corvo (@_michaelcorvo_) June 4, 2021
Speculation about a Game 6 lineup adjustments began early on Thursday when Dennis Schroder — an impending free agent — removed then re-added “PG for the Los Angeles Lakers” from his Instagram bio. In the end, Schroder will remain in the starting five for Game 6.
Moving Gasol back into the starting lineup completes a fascinating full-circle arc for him. The veteran center made 38 starts for Los Angeles before the team signed Drummond in March, which instantly demoted Gasol to the fringe of the rotation (he was not thrilled).
For all the flak Gasol took through the first two months of the season, the Lakers’ most successful basketball came with him in the starting lineup. Los Angeles, who were fresher and healthier in that span, went 26-12 in those starts.
Gasol shot 40% from three this season. The Lakers have been ice-cold through five games vs. Phoenix.
“It’s not difficult,” Frank Vogel said pre-game about making major lineup changes mid-series. “Everybody understands that each game is gonna be different throughout the series. There’s gonna be adjustments. It’s a chess match, and all of our players understand that.”
Since then, the Big Spaniard has been the Lakers’ best center in his limited action, while Drummond has struggled to make an imprint and find a groove in Los Angeles, though the Lakers’ stream of absences has made it especially tough.
With their backs against the wall and the season on the line, Vogel is going with chemistry and floor-spacing over rebounding and politics.