EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott may have accepted his team’s lottery fate in this lost season, but he’s still going to go down swinging over the team’s final 28 games.
Scott, who has already used nine different starting lineups and 12 different starters this season, said he plans on tinkering with the starting lineup again, possibly before the Lakers’ upcoming game against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
“I might make a few changes,” Scott said at practice Saturday. “I just have to wait until tomorrow. There are one or two things I’m thinking about doing. I haven’t told the guys. We just went through a nice light workout today. But I’ll let them know tomorrow morning, and I’ll let you guys know tomorrow night.”
Los Angeles has lost six in a row with the current starting lineup (and seven straight overall), and 16 of its past 17 games.
Scott, who has previously mentioned that he views the season in 15-20 game increments, said he will now adapt his strategy and determine the starting lineup on a game-by-game basis.
“The last 28 games or so, it can be kind of game-by-game,” Scott said. “I can just change it up almost every game. The one thing I want to do is make sure these guys stay hungry. I don’t want guys to feel comfortable that they feel they’re going to play 25 or 30 minutes a night.”
To keep his players on their toes, Scott said one possible solution would be playing the entire active roster in an egalitarian-type rotation.
“I also might play all 12 guys,” Scott said. “It might be a little over 20 minutes for each guy. I want them to have that hunger that they need to have every single night out there on the basketball court. That hopefully gets us to continue to compete the way I know we’re capable of competing -- but for longer periods of time. We can’t do it for 36 minutes, like we did last time. We have to do it for 48.”
Though their fourth-quarter rally came up short during Friday’s 114-105 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers’ closing lineup provided Scott with a new potential five-man unit: Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Nick Young, Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price.
“I like the group at the end of the game yesterday,” Scott said. “I thought in the fourth quarter they did a heck of a job of giving us a chance towards the end to come back and win the game, but fell short. ... That unit did a pretty good job, especially defensively in the fourth quarter.”
While Scott wouldn’t comment on who he’s planning on moving in or out of the starting lineup, he provided a little clarity: Clarkson is safe as the team’s starting point guard, and Young will remain on the bench for at least another week, if not longer.
Carlos Boozer and Wesley Johnson, both starters at various points of the season, surprisingly received DNP-CDs (Did Not Play - Coach’s Decision) against the Nets, but Scott said it was nothing personal.
“Last night was just something I was trying that I didn’t like at the end of the day,” Scott said. “I just told [Boozer] it was something I was trying to experiment with that didn’t go the way I wanted it to go and I wasn’t happy with it, and it probably won’t happen again.”