CLEVELAND — The Lakers appear in such dire straits that Coach Mike D’Antoni plans to make a roster shuffle to spare no chance that the Lakers walk out here with a victory tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lakers forward Jordan Hill will start at power forward after Antawn Jamison started the previous four while Pau Gasol rehabbed from knee tendinitis.
“Hopefully he can stay out of foul trouble,” D’Antoni said. “One of the reasons I wasn’t starting him before is I didn’t want my bigs to get in foul trouble. But we need to do that to just help on our second chance points.”
The Lakers didn’t fare well in that department in their 117-110 loss Sunday to the Utah Jazz, allowing the Jazz to score 23 second-chance points and 54 points in the paint.
Hill had also played a limited role under D’Antoni, averaging single-digit minutes in three of the first six games, partly because he doesn’t have a strong outside jumper. But Hill’s energy has impressed D’Antoni enough to play double-digit minutes in the past four contests. Hill rewarded D’Antoni with a 17-point effort on eight-of-11 shooting and nine rebounds in 31 minutes against Utah.
“He played well. He rebounded and provided energy,” D’Antoni said. “He was one of the more consistent guys. I read that and felt that. That’s where I’m going.”
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