Lakers Game Notes: Shannon Brown to start in place of Ron Artest
The Lakers plan to start Shannon Brown at shooting guard and Kobe Bryant at small forward Friday in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series with the Dallas Mavericks, according to the Lakers' game notes.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wouldn't divulge who would start in place of forward Ron Artest, who will serve a one-game suspension for his clothes-lining of Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the waning seconds of the Lakers' Game 2 loss. But by no means are the game notes binding. According to NBA Statscube, the lineup featuring Derek Fisher and Brown sharing backcourt duties, Bryant playing at small forward, Pau Gasol at power forward and Andrew Bynum at center, has been on the court a total of 12 minutes through five games.
That's a very small sample to evaluate, but for what it's worth, this lineup posted a statistical improvement from the team's season average in offensive rating (170.35 versus 107.9), turnovers (four, 13), field-goal percentage (75%, 46.3%) and three-point field-goal percentage (66.7%, 35.2%). Meanwhile, the team's defensive rating dipped from its season average (84.41, 101.32). Brown, who has made six of 10 shots while playing 27 minutes in the two games against Dallas, has largely been inconsistent since a strong start to the season (he shot 48% in November). Although Brown's 10 field-goal attempts makes it difficult to gauge what his shooting clip against Dallas really means, the start may jump-start his performance, considering he may not be as inclined to shoot outside shots with the starters.
The move would also give Bryant more freedom to operate in the post, a role that he thrives in. This lineup could surely change before tip, with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson possibly starting Matt Barnes or Luke Walton at small forward and increasing Lamar Odom's time off the bench.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Los Angeles Lakers point guard Shannon Brown. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire