After more than two months away from the court due to a calf/Achilles strain, Anthony Davis made his return to the court on Thursday for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis played in just 17 first-half minutes, but the Lakers were just one player away from having their full starting lineup of Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, Davis and Andre Drummond.
Sadly, Davis’ return came in a 115-110 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. It was the Lakers’ first back-to-back loss since March 25, and it came in a very winnable game. More importantly than the individual loss, the Lakers got Davis back and he looked relatively good for someone who has not played since February.
The Lakers big man struggled to get a shooting rhythm going — 2-for-10 from the field — but he had four points, four rebounds, a steal and a block in his 17 minutes.
Caldwell-Pope discussed what he saw from Davis in his return, saying that he’s still working to get a rhythm back.
“Just seeing him trying to get into his rhythm, he missed maybe his first four or five shots I think, it was just him trying to get back into game flow rhythm. He looked pretty healthy, 100%, which is good for us. But his minutes were short tonight and I feel like he’s not back to himself yet. But once he gets into that rhythm of getting up and down, it’s gonna be good for us.”
Even though the performance wasn’t typical Davis and the Lakers lost, Caldwell-Pope still saw a different energy from the team in the locker room and on the court. “The energy in the locker room was good, just to see him even walking into the game, going out for warmups, get dressed with us,” Caldwell-Pope said. “The energy was a little different just knowing he’s back 100% and we kind of needed that a little bit, that energy.
“So just having him back is a big big part for this organization and what we’re trying to do. Then we got one more guy that we need healthy. I feel like once they’re back, I feel like our team is complete and we just got to continue to just be aggressive and fight for something.”
The Lakers will have another chance at the Mavericks on Saturday. Until then, it will be interesting to see how Davis feels physically after his first game back. That will likely determine what kind of minutes he gets in their next game and the games following.
After the Mavericks game, the Lakers have an easier stretch of four games that should allow for Davis to get his rhythm all the way back.
Davis felt really good in return
Even though he didn’t shoot the ball well, Davis was actually surprised by how good he felt in his return to the court. “My wind felt better than I expected. I got good looks, I missed. Obviously, that comes with time and being able to get those game reps, but I felt good out there. I felt really good.
“I was able to do some things to give the team a little juice. … It’s just tough on you when you play and you have to watch the whole second half not being able to contribute on the floor, so that was the tough thing I felt for the most part.”
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