Anthony Davis’ return was one Lakers fans were highly anticipating. The first two games saw him play with a minutes restriction, which was expected considering he hasn’t played a game since February 14.
The Lakers dropped from the second seed to the fifth seed during their time without him, a fall that was expected due to Davis’ importance to the team. Especially because the Lakers also lost arguably the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, to injury during this stretch.
Anthony Davis’ return is big for the Lakers to try to keep the fifth seed and not drop into the Play-In Tournament. The Portland Trail Blazers have lost five games out of their last six, which helped the Lakers keep their place in the Western Conference despite losing three of their last five.
Before his return to action, Davis said: “It’s going to be my job to help the team stay afloat until [LeBron James] comes back as well.”
Anthony Davis’ Return: Game One Against the Dallas Mavericks
Anthony Davis’ return was brief but very important. Despite not featuring in the second half of the game, the Lakers kept the game very competitive until the end.
Davis had 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. He struggled offensively going 2-10 from the field.
Despite, the offensive struggles, Anthony Davis’ return game was a big positive because time is running out. The playoffs aren’t far away and the Lakers need their full squad to get used to playing with each other again.
The more minutes Davis and Andre Drummond get together the better. We also saw the Lakers continue to be impressive on the defensive end.
“Our defense looked really good at the start of the game. We really talking flying around, guys were covering for each other. That’s the good thing about having another defensive player out there in [Drummond].” Davis said after the game.
“I’m trying to direct him where I want him to be when I have the ball in the post. It’s going to take time but we will figure it out.”
Davis also spoke on how good he felt despite the missed shots. He said: “It’s just tough when you’re able to play and then you got to sit the whole second half and not be able to contribute on the floor. So that was the only tough thing, I think I felt fine for the most part.”
Anthony Davis’ return: Game Two against the Dallas Mavericks
The second game against the Dallas Mavericks was another loss for the Lakers. This time Davis’ minutes were increased from just 16 to 28.
They suffered a 108-93 loss after being out scored 62-35 in the second half.
He had 17 points, 3 rebounds, and shot 5-19 on the field. Another inefficient shooting game from him, but that isn’t something to be worried about.
Davis has been out a long time, it will take him a while to get back into the rhythm of things. He needs to keep getting up as many good shots as he can to find this rhythm.
One of the best parts of his game is his strong midrange game. When Davis finds his rhythm and shots start falling for him, the Lakers’ offense will improve significantly.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Lakers were without Caldwell-Pope, who has become an even more valuable player recently.
Anthony Davis’ Return: Lakers defeat the Orlando Magic
The Lakers’ first win since the return of Davis came against the Orlando Magic. Coincidentally, this was Davis’ first game back without a minute restriction.
He played 31 minutes and had 18 points and 8 rebounds. He also shot 53.3% from the field, going 8-15. The Lakers had a great fourth quarter, outscoring the Magic 35-23.
Dennis Schroder had a big game scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter, stepping up to lead them to a win. He had 21 points and 10 assists. He also scored or assisted on 16 of the Lakers’ final 18 points.
However, despite the win, Davis did have five turnovers, something we don’t see often from the star big man. He only averages 1.9 turnovers for his entire career.
He even said: “I probably won’t ever have five turnovers again in a game.”
This was definitely the best game of Anthony Davis’ return so far, despite the turnovers. His midrange game was great, especially his step-back jumper.
He also shot a corner three dagger, to put the game completely out of reach, making it a 12-point game with one minute and 19 seconds left.
The Lakers should continue to look strong the more games they play. It doesn’t seem like Davis is going to miss many of the remaining games so he should be able to find his rhythm before the playoffs.
Davis said: “I’ve missed 30 games so I think I’ve had enough rest to play those back-to-backs. So I plan to play both ends of the back-to-backs that we have.”
Anthony Davis’ return hasn’t been great, but it is expected he would have a tough start. Finding your rhythm is so important in basketball and it was always going to take time.
Now that he is no longer playing with a minutes restrictions he will be able to get more shots up and find some form.
One of the most important things to come from Anthony Davis’ return is him getting minutes with Andre Drummond. These minutes are crucial so the pair can establish how to play together.
According to Davis, Drummond is always asking questions and is a “good adaptor.”
He also said: “He’s always trying to learn knowing that it’s different when I’m on the floor, his role changes a little bit.”
Davis will get better and better as games go on and hopefully the Lakers will be able to get enough time with their full roster before the playoffs.
Anthony Davis’ return is great for LA, despite his slow start. Now that he no longer is playing with a minute restriction hopefully for the Lakers they will see Davis return to his best soon.
All the Lakers need now is the return of LeBron James.
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