Lakers News: Anthony Davis Agreed To Stay On Bench During Fourth-Quarter Run Vs. Raptors
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers began the fourth quarter on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors with a lineup that did not include Anthony Davis. It was D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel.

This was nothing out of the ordinary, as Davis rarely begins a fourth quarter on the court unless absolutely necessary. The Lakers trailed 90-85 before this five-man unit erupted at Arena in downtown Los Angeles.

By around the seven-minute mark — when Davis usually re-enters the game — L.A. had turned their five-point deficit into a four-point lead. And instead of Davis entering the game, Ham chose to ride that lineup to what ultimately ended up as a nine-point advantage.

Davis was the first sub of the quarter at the 5:53 mark, and the Lakers had outscored the Raptors 22-10 in that stretch. Davis spoke about what discussions were had on the bench during the run and being committed to winning, according to Kyle Goon of Southern California News Group:

“Yeah I mean, for me, my entire career has just always been about winning. I can score with the best of them, defend with the best of them, but I’m all about winning. At that time, I usually come back in around the 7:45 mark (of the fourth quarter) or something like that, and the team was playing well. Dennis, Austin, D-Lo, Vando and Wenyen and they had it going. Coach had my name on the board, and Dennis is like ‘Man, we rolling, we rolling.’ And Ham looked at me. I’m cool with it, let’s play. They in a rhythm, they got us back in the game. I think at that time, they got us up four. Timeout happens. It’s over. I think we go up 10. Another timeout. And I just stepped back, I’m just like ‘Let them keep going.’ It’s a good thing to see, man. You sit back and, as I’m watching it, these guys are getting very comfortable. They were playing at a high level last night. And for me, seven shots, five shots, no shots, 20 shots — like, as long as we win, I’m fine, I’m happy. And those guys carried the load a lot last night.”

The Lakers ultimately wound up winning despite trailing for a majority of the game, and facing a double-digit hole in the first quarter.

Davis being so willing to sacrifice his own playing time for the betterment of the team shows the type of quick chemistry this roster has built. Despite only playing 11 games together since the deadline — and most of those not completely healthy — there appears to be a mutual trust throughout the roster.

The Lakers are going to need this as they continue to fight towards the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. Even without LeBron James in the lineup, that goal does not appear to be as lofty as it was when Darvin Ham announced it.

James working to return as quickly as possible

James is going to be out for at least another two weeks, as his re-evaluation date is currently slated to be somewhere around March 23. However, behind the scenes, James is reportedly working to turn over every stone possible in order to get back to the Laker lineup.

If he can do so, it would vault the Lakers to a real contending roster, even if they begin the postseason in the Play-In Tournament.

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