'Tis the season for shortening the rotation

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
7:21
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Ramon Sessions will make his first start for the Lakers on Friday night against the Blazers, but today's news isn't just about who is moving up in the rotation, but who is moving out.

Asked before the game whether the change might have an impact on playing time for Andrew Goudelock -- the logic being with Steve Blake playing again with the second unit, that group might need another guy able to create his own shot -- Mike Brown said it wouldn't.

"That's the first time this came up. I'm not sure you guys have noticed, but Goudelock has not played recently," he said.

We did, but that's neither here nor there. Goudelock, who averaged 13.2 minutes per game in February, played a total of two in L.A.'s most recent games in Houston and Dallas. Brown explained his reasoning, and it had nothing to do with the arrival of Sessions, or the rotation at point guard.

"[Goudelock] didn't [sit] because Ramon was here, he just hadn't played because I increased Metta [World Peace] and Matt Barnes' minutes and played those guys at the 2 and 3 together (Barnes at shooting guard, World Peace at small forward)," Brown said. "What I'm trying to do is it's getting down to stretch time. Goudelock has been good for us. He got some great experience. He needs to keep himself mentally and physically ready in case his number is called, but we're about to get busy right here. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it with some guys that have been to the dance before. Matt has been there, and Metta has been there. So we'll see."

At this point, Brown's not looking as far down his bench during games. "We're shrinking [the rotation] a little bit. We're shrinking it a little bit, (yeah)," he said.

For the Lakers, that translates into an 8.5 man rotation, with Barnes, Blake, and some combination of Troy Murphy and/or Josh McRoberts filling in behind Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum depending on performance and matchups. There's always a chance someone like Goudelock or Jordan Hill might steal minutes here or there, but broadly speaking, it looks like Brown has settled on his core group going forward.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0