Los Angeles Lakers star big man Anthony Davis tried to give it a go against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, but unfortunately just couldn’t play through those flu-like symptoms and left the game after just eight minutes of action. This allowed for an opportunity for someone to step up and center Thomas Bryant did just that.
Bryant had his best game of the young season, finishing with a season-high 19 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-12 from the field in 28 minutes. While it wasn’t quite enough to get the Lakers over the hump and come out with a win over a very good Cavaliers team, his efforts did not go unnoticed by his teammates.
Russell Westbrook is familiar with Bryant as the two were teammates with the Washington Wizards. Following his performance in Cleveland, Westbrook praised the Lakers big man for how he plays the game and believes he did a great job stepping up, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Great job. I know TB, me and TB we played with each other in Washington. He plays hard, plays the right way. Tonight he did a helluva job of being solid, doing what he does well. Playing hard, and he was good.”
With the Lakers set to turn right around and head to Toronto to face the Raptors on a back-to-back, the Lakers will need this level of effort from Bryant once again as Davis won’t be available. Thankfully, Bryant’s energy is never something that has to be worried about as he never gives anything less than absolute maximum effort.
Since returning to the court after a thumb injury forced him to miss the first month of the season, Bryant has been in and out of the rotation. Head coach Darvin Ham has continued to tinker with lineups with Bryant sometimes seeing a decent amount of court time while other times he barely sees the floor.
Bryant has continually improved as this season has gone on and this opportunity created by Davis’ inability to suit up could be just what he needs to show that he should be a bigger part of this Lakers rotation.
LeBron James praises Thomas Bryant, says it’s next man up for Lakers without Anthony Davis
LeBron James also had praise for Bryant’s performance against the Cavaliers, noting that his high-energy was needed. But in terms of Davis being out the next game as well, LeBron said it has to be ‘next man up’ for the Lakers.
James did note that because of what Davis has done for the Lakers over the past few weeks, that is an extremely tall task for the team as a whole, but it is the reality for this team at the present.
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