Lakers takeaways: Sorry, Montrezl Harrell, you can’t play tonight, and here’s why

Lakers center Montrezl Harrell shouts toward an official during a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday
Lakers center Montrezl Harrell shouts toward an official during a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. Harrell didn’t play in Saturday’s loss to Dallas.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

The Lakers find themselves in a quandary: how to use all three of their centers since they signed Andre Drummond and made him the starter.

On Saturday night at Dallas, Montrezl Harrell was the odd man out, sitting the entire game and watching Marc Gasol get the playing time as the backup behind Drummond.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel has said all three of his big men are important to the success of the team and all would play.


“Keeping all three centers sharp,” Vogel said of the decision. “You’ve got two in a back-to-back situation with Dallas and giving each guy a look and seeing how those guys look in this matchup. But like I said, we believe in all three centers and we need to keep all three centers sharp. That’s all.”

Harrell had played in the first 59 games and is averaging 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds. He has been a force off the bench for the Lakers, giving them a lift.

The Lakers wasted a 17-point lead in Anthony Davis’ second game back and fell 108-93 to the Mavericks, who moved to within 1½ games of fifth-place L.A.

April 24, 2021

Vogel said he talked with Harrell before the game.

“He understands the big picture and what we’re trying to get accomplished, and he was great with it,” Vogel said. “He understood.”

Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 108-93 loss to the Mavericks:

1. Gasol played his usual game for the Lakers, doing a little of this and a little of that.

He played 18 minutes 28 seconds and scored just one point. He had seven rebounds, two assists and one block.

Highlights from the Lakers’ 108-93 loss to the host Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.


Though he’s dealing with a fractured left pinkie finger, Gasol is healthy enough to play. He didn’t play Thursday at Dallas and fully understands what Harrell went through Saturday.

“It’s not an ideal situation for anybody,” Gasol said. “I’m sure that I’ve just been in that situation and not play for a few games and nobody likes that. But, you know, it’s whatever coach wants us to do and we going to try to execute and do the best possible and stay ready and the days that you don’t have a game where you’re not planning to play, but it’s not ideal.

“As a player, you always like to know the consistency of when you’re going to play, how you are going to play. But we have a very deep team and if coach wants to play three guys or two guys for one spot, it’s going to take a lot of buying in.”

2. The Lakers had far too many defensive breakdowns against the Mavericks, allowing them to get plenty of open looks at the rim. The plan of double-teaming Luka Doncic really didn’t work.

Dallas scored 44 points in the paint, often coming when Doncic (13 assists) found Dwight Powell rolling to the basket for dunks and layups en route to a game-high 25 points on 11-for-12 shooting.

“We just weren’t great with the rotations,” Vogel said. “They did some things with cutting and spacing. And when we did make the rotation, we didn’t make the stop. It’s one thing to be there. You’ve got to make the play when you’re there. As you saw with Powell going 11 for 12, we didn’t do a good enough job when we rotated of getting stops in those situations.”


3. With guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out with a sprained right ankle, Ben McLemore started and was on point with his shooting.

McLemore had 20 points, going seven for 12 from the field, six for 10 from three-point range.

He started strong with 12 points in the first quarter.

“Ben filled in for KCP admirably, competed on both sides of the ball and when a guy’s shooting the ball that well from the perimeter, it should open things up,” Vogel said. “Didn’t enough for us. Obviously, we didn’t get to the basket enough in the second half. But Ben gave us a good lift, especially at the start of the game.”

4. The defeat left the Lakers, seeded fifth in the Western Conference, just 1½ games ahead of the Mavericks, who are sixth.

The Lakers have lost three consecutive games and five of their last seven, but they maintained that seeding is not a big issue for the defending NBA champions.


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April 22, 2021

“No, I think seeding is … It matters for a lot of other teams in the league. I don’t think it matters much for us,” Kyle Kuzma said. “Obviously, we’re declining, you know? And we gotta just figure it out.”

5. The Lakers fell apart in the fourth quarter, scoring just 14 points and giving up 29.

They shot 31.6% in the fourth and missed all 10 of their three-pointers.

After leading by 12 at halftime, they had given back all of it in the third quarter, then couldn’t recover in the fourth.

Anthony Davis, who checked back in with 8:34 left and the Lakers leading 83-80, missed four of five shots in the quarter and finished five for 19. He’s seven for 29 since returning to the lineup.