The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back and picked up a solid win against the Brooklyn Nets, who were without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on Tuesday night.
While the win for the Lakers was a step in the right direction, the bigger story was the return of Anthony Davis. After being listed as questionable against the Miami Heat, Davis was able to return to the lineup against the Nets, where he expectedly started at center.
The big man was limited to just 25 minutes out on the floor and he described how he felt physically being back on the floor.
“I feel ready,” Davis said. “We don’t practice much or don’t have much practice time, but was still able to get some one-on-ones and one-on-twos and see how it felt. I was ready enough to go tonight. I don’t know about the whole minute restriction thing. I think that might, for me, come off. I might tell them that I don’t need that, but we’ll see. I’ve got the back-to-back coming up and want to play that smart.
“For the most part, I felt fine. I felt great out there and the first couple of minutes the adrenaline took over and after that went away, the wind caught up to me. When I got my second wind I was fine for the rest of the game. I’ll see how it reacts tomorrow. First live-action and go from there.”
Considering Davis wasn’t able to get a full practice in, he’s expecting it to take some time before he’s back to his usual selt as far as conditioning goes.
“Until I get my legs, I got to use these games to get my legs. But I don’t think about it when I’m playing. I don’t want to babysit it. If I feel I’ve got to babysit it, I shouldn’t be out there on the floor. When I’m out there playing I’m just trying to do what I got to do to help the team win and let the rest just take care of itself.
“I don’t think this move bothered me before. Don’t do it. I just go out there and just play.”
Despite missing 17 games, Davis looked to be moving just fine, which was a welcome sight given the nature of his injury. While the star may have only scored eight points, the most encouraging development was his defensive timing and mobility as he came up with four blocks on the night.
Getting Davis back is a massive boost to the Lakers, who have definitely missed his two-way presence, but his return also allowed head coach Frank Vogel to better utilize his preferred small-ball lineups. Davis and LeBron James were the primary centers throughout the game, and although Carmelo Anthony saw minutes at the five, that will most likely cease once Davis is back to full health without a minutes restriction.
After picking up the win against the Nets, the Lakers seem to finally be picking up some positive momentum. However, they get another big test when they play Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.
Russell Westbrook believes Anthony Davis changes Lakers
Russell Westbrook is someone who is more than happy to see Davis back as the point guard and the Lakers have struggled without the big man. Even though Los Angeles has finally leaned into their small-ball identity, Westbrook believes that Davis changes the team and that is absolutely for the better.
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