Even though the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the L.A. Clippers in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night, the bright side was that Anthony Davis continues to show what he can do when fully healthy.
For the third consecutive game, Davis strung together a strong performance as he recorded game-highs of 30 points and 17 rebounds to go along with two steals and two blocks. It was another dominant two-way performance from the big man and more proof that he is past the MCL injury that kept him sidelined for nearly two months.
While Los Angeles continues to fall further in the standings, head coach Frank Vogel remains confident in his group. In fact, Vogel went so far to say that the Lakers can still win a title if Davis keeps his strong play up.
“We need every win we can get right now, so that’s what’s needed of him,” Vogel said of Davis’ performance. “If he plays that way when we’re whole, obviously, we won a championship with him with that level of determination. He’s just trying to impose his will on these games and trying to pull out as many wins as we can right now while we’re shorthanded and that’s going to bode well for us when we’re whole.”
Playing more minutes at center, Davis has understandably taken more shots at the rim. But what makes him special is when he has his jumper going. While the shot has not come all the way back yet, Vogel remained hopeful his shot will come around.
“I am. For sure, with the exception that he’s still not shooting the ball that well from the perimeter. He did all his damage in the paint tonight. I think he was 1-for-11 outside the rim.
“So when he was at his best in the bubble, he was doing that plus carrying that 3-point threat as well. We’re going to get there and when we get there we’re going to be dangerous. We’re going to have a chance to do this, but we just got to weather the storm right now.”
Through all the losing, it is hard to read Vogel’s comments as anything more than wishful thinking. But in his defense, the Lakers have looked like a good team on the rare occasions they have most of their players available. Unfortunately, injuries just keep piling up and they were dealt another blow when Carmelo Anthony was forced out of the game against the Clippers with a hamstring strain.
This is the same story from the 2020-21 season where injuries derailed the team’s chance to repeat as NBA Champions, and it is hard to feel optimistic about them turning things around when it feels like setbacks happen constantly. Hopefully the Purple and Gold’s luck changes soon, otherwise they are in for another disappointing finish.
Vogel calls loss to Clippers heartbreaking
The manner in which the Lakers lost to the Clippers was tough as they came back from down 17 points and took the lead late, first on a three by Malik Monk and then again on an alley-oop from Russell Westbrook to Davis.
Reggie Jackson answered with a nice spinning layup with four seconds left though, and then Davis got a good look at a floater at the buzzer than unfortunately went in and out. After the game, Vogel spoke on how tough of a loss it was.
“It’s heartbreaking, but I was proud of how our guys fought back. Great competitive spirit, great will to win and they did whatever they needed to do to pull that out.
“Last two shots the Clippers were a fingertip away from blocking. Both on the rim on [Reggie] Jackon’s layup and Trevor [Ariza] made a hell of a play on Marcus [Morris] to get a great contest on the corner and AD’s ball is down. It’s one of those in-and-out situations. It’s a cruel game sometimes and this is a tough loss, but plenty to build on.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!