Anthony Davis missed his second game of the season on Friday night, sitting out the 116-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder with left knee soreness.
The Lakers’ role players stepped up in Davis’ absence. Avery Bradley scored 22 points, shooting 6-for-8 from beyond the arc. Austin Reaves chipped in 13 points, adding five rebounds and two assists.
Meanwhile, LeBron James continued his fine form from recent games, scoring 33 points on a 65% efficiency from the field and 66.7% from behind the 3-point line,
Even without Davis in the fold, L.A. finally managed to beat the Thunder after losing two previous contests. However, the Lakers couldn’t feel completely satisfied with the night they due to the uncertainty around Davis’ health.
“I don’t really know what the next steps are,” head coach Frank Vogel said.
“The medical team just said we want to find out exactly what it is before we put him out there, so they’re going to hold him out for tonight’s game, but I don’t know the exact next steps.”
Vogel commended Davis for his availability this season, saying the All-Star forward reaps the rewards of his hard work in the preseason.
“The best ability, right? Availability,” the head coach said. “I think it’s directly tied to the amount of work you put in the offseason. That was documented.
“That was a clear motivation point for him after the way last season ended to use the summer to strengthen his body to improve his durability and his ability to be in there. I think it’s paid off.”
Vogel previously revealed Davis entered the season determined to play each night, even through injuries, unless the medical staff rules he is unable to take part in a game.
Vogel discusses Davis’ aggressive play in paint
Amid Davis’ absence, the Thunder outscored the Lakers in the paint 54-40. But L.A. made up for the lack of the All-Star’s forward presence in the restricted area with a red-hot 3-point shooting, making 45.2% of its attempts from downtown.
Davis records the NBA’s third-highest 14.6 points per game in the paint, behind Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Vogel said the Lakers’ pace gives the 28-year-old forward more opportunities to score from close range — particularly as he has no success shooting the ball from deep this year.
“We’ve come into the season committing to utilizing our talent by maximizing possessions we can get per game,” Vogel said. “That’s how everybody gets to eat more and I think the No. 1 thing is there’s more possessions in our games than most teams. I think the other thing, obviously, when you play with pace there’s more opportunities to attack the paint.
“Obviously, Russ is one of the best rim attackers in the game. I think adding him to the fold creates offensive rebounding opportunities and dump-off opportunities and obviously, AD’s been super aggressive with a lot of these situations. I think because he’s not shooting the ball well from the perimeter, he’s more aggressive going to the paint.”
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