The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a blow earlier in the day when reports surfaced that Anthony Davis will miss at least a month with a foot injury.
Without their best player during the 2022-23 season, the Lakers would need to get more out of their rotation players to make up for Davis’ production. In the win against the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles saw several different guys step up in the second half.
Without Davis in the lineup, LeBron James was predictably more assertive on the offensive end. James took 24 shots on the night, knocking down 13 of them including hitting 6-of-8 attempts from the free throw line which got him to a game-high 33 points. He also added nine assists, seven rebounds and one block.
Thomas Bryant drew the start at center with Davis out and for the second consecutive game, he delivered in a big way. Bryant was active on both ends of the floor and ran the floor hard in transition to open things up for his teammates. He had some moments where he struggled to finish in the painted area but still scored 16 points and even went a perfect 2-of-2 from downtown.
However, Bryant’s biggest moment of the game came on the Lakers’ final offensive possession. James turned the ball over briefly at midcourt before recovering and found the big man next to the rim for what would be the game-winning dunk.
Austin Reaves was also a key contributor throughout the night, hounding Bradley Beal on several possessions and making the right reads on the other end. Reaves gave fans a real scare when he came up hobbling after spraining his ankle and going straight back to the locker room.
The second-year guard returned for a minute before exiting yet again, seemingly a sign that his night would be over. However, Reaves came back and ended up hitting two clutch floaters in the final minutes to keep the Lakers ahead.
In a turn of events, Max Christie was an early sub in the first quarter and the rookie delivered another solid performance with eight points and four rebounds. Christie’s length on defense was also a positive and he looks like he’s earned more minutes going forward.
What’s next for Lakers
Los Angeles doesn’t get much time to celebrate as they fly to Phoenix to take on the Suns on a back-to-back. They’ll follow up with a game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday before coming back home on Friday to play the Charlotte Hornets.
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