Austin Reaves: Lakers Always Have A Chance When Anthony Davis Is Playing
Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

After salvaging a four-game road trip with a win against the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers went home to begin a three-game homestand, starting Sunday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Heading into Sunday, LeBron James was ruled out with a shin/calf injury sustained during Friday’s game and all eyes were on his co-star Anthony Davis. The big man showed up in a big way with 30 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three blocks on 10-for-20 from the field.

The Trail Blazers wouldn’t go away and make a run to begin the fourth quarter to make it a closer game than L.A. would’ve liked. But, coming off a losing streak, a win is a win at the end of the day. Austin Reaves commended Davis for stepping up with James sitting out.

“I seen the ‘fro back tonight. So I thought, this is gonna be a good day for him,” Reaves joked. “But he’s Anthony Davis. Anytime he gets on the floor, obviously, you never want to have anybody out, especially Bron. But anytime you got Anthony Davis, you got a chance. Changes the game in so many different ways that the stat sheet doesn’t even show. And yeah, happy to have him on our team.”

The Lakers constructed this roster to be able to win games when James, Davis or both are out due to injury. Sunday was more of what fans expected to see when a star player is missing with the starting lineup was all in double figures and Reaves leading the charge off the bench with 18 points.

With Davis being signed to an extension this offseason, he is the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come and these are the kind of performances that the team needs if he wants to be the No. 1 option when James departs or retires.

The 30-year-old is averaging 23.9 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in nine games on 52.7% from the field, 37.5% from 3 and 88.9% from the line. It has been a strong shooting start from Davis while continuing his defensive dominance, and Sunday’s performance showed that he is capable of holding down the fort while James is day-to-day.

Davis credits Lakers for stepping up with James out against Trail Blazers

While Davis led the way with 30 points, it was a well-balanced effort from the Lakers’ win on Sunday. As mentioned, the starting five were in double figures with Reaves chipping in 18 points off the bench, and Davis praised the team for stepping up in James’ absence.

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