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Lakers' Byron Scott trades offense for better defense in starting lineup

Lakers Coach Byron Scott looks to improve team defense by making Ronnie Price and Ed Davis starters

By swapping out Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer for Ronnie Price and Ed Davis, Coach Byron Scott has shown he's willing to give up some offense in his starting lineup to improve the team's defense.

Through 21 games (5-16), the Lakers lead the league with 110.9 points given up per night.  They have managed 102.5 points themselves, 12th best overall, but they are getting outscored by 8.3 points a game.

Price is a solid defender, but he is shooting just 31.4% from the field and 27.0% from three-point range, along with 3.9 points and 3.7 assists a game.  Unless his efficiency improves, he's a quite the downgrade offensively from Lin, who is at 44.5% and 34.4%, respectively, plus 11.5 points and 4.9 assists nightly.

Davis has longer arms and greater mobility than Boozer. The Lakers lose Boozer's post game and jump shot, but Davis is an efficient 63.6% from the field this season, averaging 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks a game.

Boozer has contributed 12.4 points with 6.6 rebounds while shooting 49.8% from the field, but many of his baskets come farther away from the basket, which helps space the floor for the rest of his teammates.  Through 33 games, Boozer has just one block this season.

Both Lin and Boozer should help the offense on the second unit, with scorers Nick Young and Wayne Ellington.  Whether that combination of players, with center Robert Sacre, can get stops defensively is another question.

Kobe Bryant -- along with Jordan Hill, whose jump shot is either hot or very, very cold -- will have the task of carrying the offense for the starting unit.  Wesley Johnson is not a consistent threat.  Bryant may find little room to work with as secondary defenders cheat off of Davis, Johnson, Price and even Hill.

Scott may not have found the ideal combination of players, although the change in rotation was welcome given the team's poor results.  He's committed to the new group of players for 10 to 15 games, gambling the increase in defense with the starting group will offset the potential offensive dropoff.

The results were not evident in the team's first game with Price and Davis, a 104-87 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

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