LeBron James Says It’s ‘Next Man Up’ For Lakers If Anthony Davis Misses Time With Illness
LeBron James Anthony Davis Lakers
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers put up a fight against the Cleveland Cavaliers despite losing Anthony Davis in the first quarter, but their effort wasn’t enough to collect another win.

The Lakers took their first loss of the current six-game road trip as they had to quickly update their game plan when Davis exited eight minutes into the contest due to flu-like symptoms. L.A. badly missed the 29-year-old forward who has recently been in extraordinary form — averaging 35.3 points, 15.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.9 blocks in his nine games before Tuesday’s matchup in Cleveland.

But the Purple and Gold went neck-and-neck with the Cavaliers until the mid-fourth quarter when the hosts jumped too far ahead with relentless transition offense and thanks to points of L.A.’s turnovers. Still, LeBron James liked how the Lakers responded after losing Davis, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“Next man up. But that’s a tall task, figuratively and literally, for AD has been doing for us over the last few weeks. I thought Thomas came in and gave us some great minutes, you know, he was high-energy, worked the glass really well. But it was tough for us. Once AD went out, we had to kind of switch up our whole game plan from what we were going to try to do. But we gave as much as we could, had a couple opportunities in the fourth but they broke away with it.”

Thomas Bryant had his best game of the season, chalking up 19 points on 8-for-12 from the field (66.7%) and nine rebounds after replacing Davis on the court. But James acknowledged the Lakers’ couldn’t simply make up for Davis’ input on both ends of the floor in his absence:

“I mean, he’s given us everything — both scoring, defense, obviously rebounding, blocking shots around the rim, length. Obviously, our length goes away when you have a guy that’s 6’11’’ with a [7’6’’] wingspan, you know, can’t match that.”

The Lakers continue their road trip with a game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, giving Davis very little time to recover from his illness.

Darvin Ham says Davis felt ill before loss to Cleveland but wanted to ‘give it a go’

After the game, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said Davis felt ill earlier on Tuesday but still wanted to try and help his teammates get another win.

“Yeah, it progressively got worse,” Ham said. “His temperature went over 100 — I believe it was 101 and some change. He said he was gonna try to give it a go, which he did. But just felt too weak, you know, just kind of drained, dehydrated a little bit.

“But you know, it’s that time of the season in terms of winter time and cold weather change, and changing the climate coming from L.A. and going to these different places.”

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