Anthony Davis couldn’t help the Los Angeles Lakers notch a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday in his return from a two-month layoff.
The 28-year-old All-Star felt good back on the hardwood despite chipping in just four points, shooting 2-for-10, in addition to four rebounds. Davis played only 17 minutes in the first half in accordance with head coach Frank Vogel’s plan for his return. Vogel said in the days leading up to his superstar’s comeback that he would initially play on a minutes restriction to avoid potential injury setbacks.
But the forward still found it hard to watch L.A. fight Dallas from the bench in the second half, particularly as the Mavericks aren’t far behind the Lakers in the Western Conference standings. “That’s very tough, especially [because] we dropped this one tonight knowing that Dallas [Mavericks] is trying to catch Portland [Trail Blazers] and us and they came a game closer,” he said.
The Lakers will lock horns with Dallas again on Saturday with Davis’ involvement most likely remaining limited. And even though L.A. maintains the team isn’t concerned about the final seeding position, seeing the reigning NBA champions in the vicinity of the play-in tournament spots still makes the forward uneasy. “We know at the end of the day when everyone is healthy that we’re a tough team,” Davis said.
“No matter where we fall in the playoffs we’re going to come out and I think we’re going to be a challenge for anybody. That’s how to look at it big picture, obviously, but we still want to make sure that we control our own destiny and be able to make the playoffs one through six and not fall in that seven through 10 range.”
Vogel wasn’t tempted by playing Davis in the second half against Mavericks
Despite the showdown with Dallas turning out to be a close contest, Vogel said he didn’t for a second think about deploying Davis again after halftime.
The coach said he would comply with the medical staff’s recommendations on phasing the forward back into the team. “Zero,” he said when asked about having any impulses to give Davis more minutes in his return.
“There was a plan to get him some work, we don’t have any practice time so we have to use games to get him back in shape and you have to follow the medical team’s recommendation so there’s no thought process with that.”
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!