Prior to L.A.’s win against Houston, Luke Walton approached head coach Phil Jackson with an idea: why not see if L.A.’s flow worked better with Trevor Ariza starting and Walton coming off the bench?
Jackson concurred, and both players were effective in L.A.’s 102-96 win. Ariza scored eight points with six boards, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes, while Walton logged eight points alongside five boards and two assists in 23 minutes.
Jackson said the team would stick with that lineup for the foreseeable future.
Ariza had protested a starting role earlier in the season, but apparently changed his tune when the bench wasn’t producing much in the last few weeks. After the Houston win, Ariza said that “It’s cool” for him to continue starting, as long as it’s helping the team.