It was not always pretty but the Los Angeles Lakers managed to pull out another overtime win during the 2021-22 season, this time on the road against the Dallas Mavericks.
Austin Reaves was the hero of the night as the rookie nailed 5-of-6 of his 3-pointers, including the dramatic game-winner with less than a second to go. While Reaves was rightfully the story of the night, the Lakers also saw the return of Anthony Davis, who missed the team’s past two games with knee soreness.
Davis’ knee injury was not deemed serious as news came out that it was structurally intact and that he was considered day-to-day. Fortunately for Los Angeles, Davis was able to suit up and looked alright in his return.
After the win against the Mavericks, Davis said that there were no issues with his knee despite playing 39 minutes.
“Knee feels fine,” Davis said. “I was trying to get the soreness out to be ready to play, but it’s fine. Some treatment and rehab and I was ready to go tonight.”
The star big man got off to slow start in Dallas as he looked to regain his footing, but turned things around at the top of the third quarter as he looked much more like himself on both ends of the floor. He finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but the most important thing is that he was able to play extensive minutes without any setbacks.
While rust may have played into his slow start, part of it also could’ve been that the Mavericks were double-teaming him on every possession. He discussed how he was able to get past that to have a productive second half.
“No, I just adjusted to their defensive schemes against me. They were doubling every time I caught the ball in the post and when we threw a little pocket pass, another defender was right there in my lap so I couldn’t get the shot up. But just figuring out their schemes throughout the course of the game, figuring out ways to beat them and to get shots.
“Talking with Bron, Russ and Do, Melo, just figuring out ways to keep the ball moving and get some good looks. I was able to get that in the third quarter, got going and then in the overtime made some shots. But just trying to figure out their scheme, obviously we know J. Kidd and what he likes to do so we knew he was gonna throw some stuff at us and we were able to defeat it and look at all the reads we had on the offensive end and pick it apart.”
Getting Davis back is huge for the Lakers who have been depleted of their depth as several players were placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Talen Horton-Tucker entered protocol first, but Malik Monk and Dwight Howard were also ruled out and all three players are expected to miss several games. Aside from the players, Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy and play-by-play announcer Bill Macdonald were also placed in protocols.
Availability has been an issue all season long for Los Angeles, so anytime a player like Davis is able to go is excellent news. Hopefully Davis ramps back up to his normal self soon as the upcoming schedule only gets more difficult for Purple and Gold.
LeBron James believes logging minutes with teammates is beneficial
Aside from Davis, LeBron James has also struggled to stay on the floor due to a variety of factors. However, since returning James has begun to resemble himself more each game and that in turn has resulted in better overall team performance. James credits playing more minutes next to his teammates for their improvement the past couple of weeks.
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