The Big Men on the Los Angeles Lakers’ bench:
Portland’s backup center Enes Kanter was the WWE’s 24/7 champion at one time, so it makes sense he laid the smackdown on the opposing Lakers big men. But in no universe should an opposing bench player out-rebound an entire bench unit.
The Lakers’ big men need to use the Portland game as a “Remember the Alamo” moment over these next two games. It starts with Montrezl Harrell, their prized offseason acquisition.
Because he is 6’8” Montrezl Harrell struggles against seven-footers. It is what it is. He is not growing four inches overnight. It is not a coincidence Harrell has routinely struggled against seven-footers. The Denver Nuggets’ all-world center Nikola Jokic dominated him in the bubble when Harrell was on the Clippers. Portland’s center Jusuf Nurkic bodied him last game.
San Antonio’s center LaMarcus Aldridge, also much taller than Harrell, figures to be a tough matchup. Aldridge’s understudy Jakob Poeltl is also no joke. Poeltl will be a problem for Harrell as he displays a nice scoring touch around the basket.
San Antonio is not the best matchup for Harrell. However, he is also not the best matchup for Aldridge and Poeltl. They are going to have a tough time staying in front of him.
Markeiff Morris only played 7 minutes against Portland. If Morris is to reprise his role as the team’s enforcer, he must make those minutes as impactful as possible. Morris has a niche as a modern-day power forward who also moonlights as an old-school enforcer.
Over these next two games, Morris must keep San Antonio off the offensive glass. Keldon Johnson, San Antonio’s starting power forward, has a knack for crashing the offensive glass. The former Kentucky Wildcat punished Zion Williamson for not boxing him out.
If Johnson is not in the game, the timeless Rudy Gay also finagles his way on the boards. Morris has to make his presence known on the glass to increase his playing time.
What can the backup guards and wings do to impact the game?