It was tougher than it needed to be, but the Los Angeles Lakers got the job done in overtime and improved to 6-5 after beating the Charlotte Hornets 126-123 on Monday night.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Hornets seized momentum in the third quarter when they took an eight-point lead but the Lakers came roaring back thanks to the bench unit led by Rajon Rondo. From that point on, Los Angeles looked they were going to cruise to a victory before late-game turnovers and miscues from Russell Westbrook allowed Charlotte to force overtime.
Fortunately, Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony were able to come up huge in the extra frame and give the Lakers the much-needed victory. It was a gritty performance from Davis, who is still recovering from a stomach illness that forced him to exit early against the Portland Trail Blazers and acknowledged he is hoping he feels better soon after throwing up again after the third quarter of this game.
“Just a lot of sleep, a lot of fluids. Trying to eat a little bit. The Portland game was rough, I threw up four times before the game and then once when I didn’t come back, just had no energy. Even did it one time tonight in the third [quarer]. But just trying to find energy to go out there and compete with the guys. Little chewables that give you energy and Gatorade and all these things just to get me through the game. Put in 43 minutes out there, 43 minutes of work and I got 48 hours to replenish. So hopefully I feel better the next couple of days, and if not, we’ll do it again,” Davis said.
Head coach Frank Vogel made sure to praise Davis for his performance considering how much of the load he had to shoulder despite clearly not feeling 100 percent.
“Yeah, he’s dealing with a lot of stuff right now, his thumb and obviously being really sick, and he’s toughing it out,” Vogel said. “We don’t win this game tonight without him having that mindset that he’s going to push through his health adversity that he’s facing.
“And he was terrific as well on both sides of the ball, had some key blocks, really anchored our defense well for long stretches at the five spot in the coverage that we wanted with LaMelo. And obviously had that key block at the end and made some big buckets and big free throws.”
The Lakers are going to have to find ways to cobble up wins with LeBron James expected to miss at least the next couple of games as he deals with his abdominal strain, so having Davis step up when they needed him most is encouraging to say the least. The star big man was everywhere and it shows in the box score as he recorded 32 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.
While it would be great if L.A. closed teams out earlier rather than let them climb back into games, the important thing is they racked up another victory and kept pace with the rest of the Western Conference.
Davis’ health will be something to monitor, but he should be good to go when the Purple and Gold take on the Miami Heat next on Wednesday night.
Vogel reveals Davis insists on playing through injuries
The Lakers normally take a conservative approach when it comes to their stars’ health, but Vogel revealed that Davis has expressed he wants to play despite any injuries he may have because of the team’s unfortunate bout with the injury bug during the 2020-21 season.
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