Presented by Anthony Davies Los Angeles Lakers Fans dread the end of the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night. All-Star Big Man, Dec. Returning to the lineup for the first time since 16, he fell to the floor and clutched his ankle in pain in a scene all too familiar to Laker fans, but he quickly recovered. Up, sank three free throws and stayed in the game. Darwin Ham Even joked He nearly died watching Davis on the field, but in the end, it was all smiles after Davis returned to the lineup following a five-week absence.
First time as a member New Orleans Pelicans, Davis came off the bench in an NBA game. That didn’t slow him down one bit, and despite the one-minute limit, he led the Lakers in scoring. The final tally: 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in just 26 minutes as the Lakers earned their third win in four tries.
“It’s been a long 5 and a half weeks,” Davis said after the game. “It feels good to come back and get a win and finally get back on the field with these guys.” Of course, he didn’t return to the floor with his old teammates. He played with a rookie Wednesday as trade acquisition Rui Hachimura made his Lakers debut.
The results were encouraging. Hachimura, despite reports that he would eventually start, scored 12 points on seven shots while hauling in six rebounds and finishing with a team-best plus-18 point-differential. The Lakers, who only marginally increased with Davis this past month, finally had some length to put on the floor defensively.
The results speak for themselves. The 104 points they allowed are the fewest they’ve given up since a Nov. 25 win over the same San Antonio Spurs. They still have a long way to go in both integrating Hachimura and getting Davis back up to speed, but on Wednesday, the Lakers provided a glimpse across the league of what this team could look like at full strength. When James and Davis are healthy, and they have a wide variety of supporters, they can hang with anyone.