It was another valiant effort in the second half, but the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to complete their comeback against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
The Lakers were without LeBron James due to his one-game suspension after his incident with Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, and it looked like they were in for a long night after falling behind by as many as 25 points in the first half. However, Los Angeles kicked things into gear in the third quarter when Russell Westbrook and the role players stepped up to put them in position to actually steal a win.
Aside from missing James, the Lakers were close to being down two of the stars as Anthony Davis received a questionable tag as it was reported he was dealing with a non-COVID illness. Davis was fortunately able to suit up but revealed he was close to missing due to a fever that kept him at the team hotel.
“I just woke up not feeling well. Headache, flu symptoms really. Coughing, fever, body aching, everything and was just in the hotel waiting for my fever to break. It was a low-grade fever so you may be contagious or something, so I couldn’t leave until my fever broke. When my fever broke, I got in the car and shot straight here like 46 minutes, 48 minutes before the game clock. Did as much as I can treatment-wise, got dressed and went out to play and that was it. So that was kind of what the day was.”
Cutting it close to tipoff, Davis also admitted that it was the first time in his NBA career that he simply got ready and played a game.
“I think the body aches kind of just got me at first, I didn’t get a chance to warm up or anything, go through my normal treatment process before the game. It was really like an AAU thing for me, come to the gym, get dressed and play, which I’ve never done that before, ever. The first couple minutes was kind of like get loose, get in a rhythm type thing and I think as a team, we turned it around after getting down big early and just sticking with it. We had a chance to take the lead and also tie it up with some shots.”
Davis ended up playing 34 minutes and had a decent game, scoring 20 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-2 from downtown. It was clear, though, that the big man was laboring during certain stretches as he struggled to get up and down the floor and lacked the same quickness and burst he normally does.
Even though the training staff has remained conservative when it comes to player health, Davis has seemed adamant on playing through issues, which is a good sign given how nicked up he gets over the course of a season. Having Davis available gave Los Angeles a chance to beat New York though it remains to be seen how much gas he has left in the tank when they play the Indiana Pacers on the second end of a back-to-back set on Wednesday.
Frank Vogel credits Anthony Davis for playing against Knicks
Head coach Frank Vogel would have had his work cut out for him had Davis not been able to play, so he credited his star for gutting it out and playing as hard as he physically could. With Davis not 100 percent, Vogel revealed that he adjusted his rotations in order to give the 28-year-old some additional rest.
“We thought he wasn’t going to play. He had a fever all day. It finally broke probably around I want to say around five o’clock. We didn’t think he was even coming to the arena. It finally broke and he started feeling better into the evening and showed up about really 10 minutes before our team meeting. So I definitely think that he was a little bit drained, and so we used him differently. We tried to keep him in seven-minute runs, we didn’t play him his normal rotation. It probably had an impact, but credit to him for wanting to be out there and competing at a high level.”
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