With Game 6 of the NBA finals set to kick off in a few hours, the Miami Heat and LA Lakers will lock horns once again as they battle for the 2020 NBA Championship.
The injury-ridden Heat have punched above their weight by forcing a Game 6 against the dominant LA Lakers duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. On that note, let's take a look at the latest edition of the NBA news update.
NBA News Update: Alex Caruso to replace Dwight Howard in the LA Lakers starting lineup
The LA Lakers struggled against Miami Heat shooting guard Jimmy Butler in Game 5 as the swingman put on a 35-point triple-double that ensured that the Heat cut the series deficit to 3-2.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the LA Lakers have decided to make one major adjustment to counter Jimmy Butler's threat: Shooting guard Alex Caruso will be inserted in the starting lineup instead of the veteran center Dwight Howard.
This indicates that the LA Lakers have decided to go small, an adjustment that was made halfway in Game 5 as Dwight Howard only logged in eight minutes in that game.
Here is an interesting nugget that validates LA Lakers head coach Frank Vogel's decision: Anthony Davis has shared the court with Dwight Howard 14 minutes per game in the 2020 NBA Finals, and the Lakers have a -10.8 net rating during that period. In his 25 minutes per game without Howard, the LA Lakers are +14.5.
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Dwight Howard has been a liability for the LA Lakers all series as Jimmy Butler has hunted him for mismatches whenever the former has been on the floor. Butler is a fast-moving guard who likes to drive to the rim, and that has troubled Howard all series.
Howard had a comeback season and has played key minutes in the postseason for the LA Lakers, but the team's defense in the 2020 NBA finals has simply been better with Anthony Davis playing at center.