In search of more mobility, the Los Angeles Lakers will insert guard Alex Caruso into the starting lineup for Game 6 against the Miami Heat, The Athletic reported on Sunday, while center Dwight Howard returns to a reserve role.
Howard's defense was deployed against Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic in the Western Conference finals. But with Heat center Bam Adebayo working his way back from a neck strain, Howard's inside presence is not needed as much.
The change ends Howard's run of seven consecutive games in the Lakers' starting lineup, including all five in the NBA Finals to this point. He started just twice in 69 games during the regular season.
Caruso, 26, has not started a game for the Lakers in the playoffs. He had just two starts during the regular season and has 13 in his three-year NBA career.
Howard, 34, has averaged just 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in the NBA Finals and has played just 14 minutes per game. Caruso has scored 6.8 points per game in the Finals and has averaged 23.3 minutes off the bench.
The change also means that the Lakers' Anthony Davis will return to the center role. Davis has averaged 26.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in five Finals games.
Jimmy Butler leads the Heat with 29.0 points per game, while shooters Tyler Herro (16.2) and Duncan Robinson (13.0) are the second and third leading scorers on the team. The Heat are 59 of 161 from 3-point range (36.6 percent), while the Lakers are 73 of 204 (35.8 percent)
--Field Level Media