Lakers Veteran Hints at Move to Starting Lineup

Getty Images Lakers forward Markieff Morris and Marc Gasol battle for a rebound.

If Los Angeles Lakers star forward Anthony Davis is unable to go for Game 5 there will be some valuable minutes that need to be accounted for. Veteran Markieff Morris appears ready to step up if his number is called.

Morris has played just 12 minutes total in the series so far, his only points coming from the free throw line. Morris has had a tough run of late, hitting at just a 22.6% clip from beyond the arc in April and 30% in May, cooling off from a hot March where he shot above 40% from deep and averaged 10.2 points.

For the season, Morris is averaging 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds, shooting just a shade over 30% on 3-pointers.

Morris is an option for Frank Vogel to replace Davis in the starting lineup if Davis can’t go and some subtle hints from Morris seem to indicate he could be making the leap.

“Opportunity,” Morris tweeted on Monday night.

He followed that up with another tweet, writing: “They say worrying is like praying your nightmares become reality. Let it go move on!”

Frank Vogel Vague on Lineup Changes

The reports coming out on Davis’ status indicate that the Lakers are not optimistic about his availability for Game 5. If he is indeed unable to go, Morris is one option and Kyle Kuzma is another. Due to injuries this season, both Kuzma and Morris have seen time in the starting lineup. Kuzma has started 32 games this season, while Morris has started 27.

Vogel was not willing to give an inch about his strategy going forward.

“You think I’m going to give you the direction I’m going to go?” Vogel told reporters, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I’m not going to give you the direction I’m going to go in Game 5.”

With Davis, it’s a wait-and-see approach and they’re hoping for the best.

“I mean, these guys, they’re great competitors. They’re always going to say, ‘I’m ignoring this. I’m going to be in there.’ So, we’ll just see,” Vogel said. “That’s what his mindset is, like any competitor, but we’ll see what the groin feels like [Tuesday], and we’ll make a smart decision. But he’s in good spirits.”

Lakers Hopefully on Status of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Getty ImagesDevin Booker of the Phoenix Suns loses control of the ball against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers are hopeful that they’ll have starting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back in the lineup after he missed Game 4 with a knee contusion.

“I’m fine, feeling much better,” Caldwell-Pope told reporters on Monday. “Thoughts on the game yesterday, I wanted to play it was just 50-50. Felt a little more soreness in my knee and so I kind of called it, not played. But I’m feeling better, still questionable about going tomorrow but just feeling better, day-to-day.”

Caldwell-Pope has been one of the Lakers more reliable shooters this season, although he struggled in the series against the Suns. He is averaging just 4.0 points on a measly 22.2% shooting, adding 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He’s just 1-of-13 on 3-pointers against Phoenix.

Caldwell-Pope knows he has to be better, especially with Davis potentially in street clothes.

“We know he was a big key to the offense and defense, and we got to pick up the slack,” Caldwell-Pope said.

The Lakers are five-point underdogs for the matchup, with the total for the game set at 207, per Odds Shark.

READ NEXT: Lakers Not Optimistic Anthony Davis Can Return From Injury: Report

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