Apr 24, 2013, 1:20 PM EST
With injuries to their All-Stars, Mike D’Antoni and Mark Jackson have been forced to re-tool their rotations by extreme magnitudes. At the most important time of year, no less. Even other teams dealing with injuries like the Bulls, Nuggets, and Celtics have starting lineups with significantly more experience together.
Here’s how much each team’s playoff starting lineup played together during the regular season (noting when teams started different players in the post-season):
There’s a tiny bar you probably can’t see denoting the Warriors’ single minute together, but you might notice the Knicks also started a zero-minute lineup.
The Knicks’ Game 1 starters – Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Chris Copeland, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert – didn’t play together during the regular season. However, that lineup was the choice of New York’s mad magician, Mike Woodson, and Game 2 starter Pablo Prigioni returned from a sprained ankle. New York’s most-used playoff lineup – Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith – was one of the team’s top-played lineups since Martin signed in February.
In other words, the Knicks’ strange lineups are behind them if they so choose.
The Lakers and Warriors have no such luck. Unlike Prigioni, who’s a much smaller piece of the puzzle anyway, Bryant and Lee aren’t returning. That means complications, not just without the starting lineup, but throughout the game.
The Warriors, in their last playoff game, gave 31 minutes to lineups that played one or fewer minutes together during the regular season.
The Lakers went even further into the unknown, giving 32 minutes to lineups that didn’t play together at all during the regular season.
Mark Jackson successfully navigated the lineup maze against the Nuggets to help his team win (though, his players making shots certainly helped). The onus is now on D’Antoni to find a winning combination in an uncomfortable predicament.
- Wednesday night NBA Grades: LaMarcus Aldridge is a flat out stud 2
- Arena evacuated after fire, Spurs-Timberwolves game in Mexico City postponed 12
- Milwaukee police release video, cite Larry Sanders for bar fight 11
- PBT Extra: Focusing on “epic showdown” between Knicks, Nets 5
- Carmelo Anthony: “We are the laughingstock of the league right now” 25
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (63)
- Report: Dion Waiters accused Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson of playing “buddy ball.” (53)
- Michael Beasley finding a role, groove in Miami (41)
- The Extra Pass: Our awards at the quarter pole, plus Monday recaps (41)
- With game in balance, Jason Kidd tells player to “hit me,” spills drink, gets psuedo timeout to draw up play (40)