Anthony Davis’ performance in his first game for the Los Angeles Lakers after a two-month break didn’t overwhelm at first glance.
The 28-year-old All-Star registered four points and four rebounds in the 115-110 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, shooting just 20% from the field. Davis played on a minutes restriction clocking in 17 minutes in the first half of the clash.
It might take time for the forward to regain the rhythm offensively having missed 30 straight games with an Achilles injury. But head coach Frank Vogel said Davis already made a difference on the other end of the floor. “He impacts the game on both ends but his defense was great,” he said.
“I think he picked up right where he left off, I think he’s the best defensive player in the league when he’s got his legs under him and conditioned. But you saw some of that tonight with those plays you alluded to, you saw a corner skip pass that really should’ve been a rotation and he just like plucked it out of midair.
“So he’s a difference-maker on both sides of the ball but he was terrific on D tonight.”
Davis said watching his teammates play without him after halftime didn’t come easy to accept. But the forward added he felt “better than expected” during his return despite the long layoff.
Ultimately, that is what’s most important as everyone understands that it will take Davis some time to get back in a rhythm. The Lakers’ championship hopes come and go with Davis’ health though, so him coming out of Thursday night’s game feeling healthy trumps everything else.
Schroder doesn’t want Davis to ‘rush’ back
L.A. maintains the team isn’t concerned about results in the regular season as long as the reigning NBA champions don’t have to take part in the play-in tournament, which will involve seeds No. 7 to No. 10. in each conference following the end of the regular season.
Therefore, Dennis Schroder said, Davis should take his time to prepare for the part of the 2020-21 campaign the Lakers will need him the most. “End of the day, we want to make the playoffs more than win games,” he said.
“We want to focus on us, what we do, and try to get better every game until everybody gets back, and to this point … you can’t rush nobody.”
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