The Los Angeles Lakers received a much-needed boost with the return of Anthony Davis after missing nine weeks with a calf strain. Unfortunately, the Purple and Gold still have yet to find their rhythm amid their 1-3 stretch since the star big man came back.
Despite a disappointing 116-107 loss to the Washington Wizards, Davis still ended the game on a high note by scoring 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter while at the center position. Regardless, L.A. is running out of time to get it together with just 10 games left in the regular season.
The Lakers currently own the No. 5 seed in the West and are holding on to just a 1.5-game lead over the No. 6 Dallas Mavericks heading into the final stretch. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when exactly LeBron James will be back in the mix as he continues to nurse a high ankle sprain that has kept him out for nearly six weeks.
Although the Lakers are still a work in progress with the playoffs around the corner, Davis is confident that everything else will fall into place if they continue to get healthy and focus on the defensive end.
“First just getting back healthy. Getting back to the defensive team that we’ve been all year. The offense is gonna come, you can’t expect to win games or championships when you can’t play defense so just getting back to the defensive team that we’ve been all year is gonna help us win games when guys are still trying to find rhythms.
“Markieff is trying to find a rhythm with his shot, me starting to find mine back in the offense and Drum’s still trying to get back to playing after sitting for two and a half months and then trying to find his rhythm with this team. So while we are trying to get back, we can control what we’re doing on the defensive end and we just got to get back to that.”
While the team has struggled to turn it on when it matters most, Davis feels all they need to do is find the same sense of urgency and ability to flip the light switch that they had last year.
“We can, we just have to do it. We have to score, we scored 20 points in the second quarter. We got to be able to score the basketball and also get stops…
“We have 10 games left so if we come out and play like we did in that fourth quarter where the ball was moving, guys were shooting their shots and making plays then the game is a lot easier for us than scoring 20 points a quarter and not playing with no paces or no effort or no energy then like other teams, it’s playing in a desperate situation. We control our own destiny so we have to start playing with a sense of desperation even though we are in the playoffs as of right now. But we’re not that far off from being in the play-in game. So we got to play with a sense of desperation as well.”
The comments from Davis indicate that he is not worried about some of the team’s shortcomings on both ends of the floor at the moment. However, the Lakers have just a handful of games left to find that sense of desperation before it is win or go home.
Of course, the looming return of James will undoubtedly help get the offense back on track. The onus will fall on Davis to lead the charge on defense until then.
Davis confident Drummond pairing will only get better
The Lakers managed to revamp the frontcourt by pairing Davis with Andre Drummond down low. Even if the team is still in a slump, there is good reason to be optimistic about this big man tandem as they continue to get better acquainted on the court.
Davis admits that while they are still working out some of the kinks, it is only a matter of time before he and Drummond are on the same page.
“It’s going good,” Davis said. “We’re continuously learning each other, figuring out where to be on the floor when the other one has the ball. We’re getting better each game. He was able to throw a couple lobs to me, there was one play where I kind of turned over and I was trying to pass to him, he moved and he told me he should’ve stayed right there. So it’s a little miscommunication but we’re gonna figure it out.”
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