Anthony Davis returns as Lakers bounce back with win over Spurs

No designer sweater. No costly sun shades. No customized pants.

Wednesday, Anthony Davis was within the standard-issue purple Nike warmups with the staff’s iconic golden jersey beneath, the look ahead to his on-court return about to be over.

Within the seconds earlier than he checked in, the San Antonio Spurs pounded the offensive glass to steal two factors.

By the point he left the ground seven minutes later, Davis had discovered a defensive rhythm, swatting two-straight pictures to remind everybody what the Lakers had been enjoying with out.

After sitting out 20 video games due to a bone spur, a fracture and a stress response all in his proper foot, the Lakers acquired their star huge man again — albeit in restricted motion — simply in time for an important stretch.

Davis led them in scoring and rebounds, the Lakers beating the Spurs 113-104, dominating the fourth quarter.

He scored 21 factors in 26 minutes to go together with 4 blocks and 12 rebounds. LeBron James almost had a triple-double with 20 factors, 11 assists and 9 rebounds, and Patrick Beverley scored 18.

“I assumed he seemed good,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham stated after the win. “… General, nice. A-plus.”

The Lakers start a five-game journey Saturday in Boston.

“I’m comfortable for him, at the start, I understand how irritating this course of has been for him, particularly on the stage at which he was enjoying,” Ham stated earlier than the sport.

“I’m simply comfortable for him, and undoubtedly comfortable for us.”

Davis took a scary-looking fall close to midcourt on the finish of the third quarter. He landed awkwardly on his proper foot after a shot problem by Zach Collins. Davis acquired up, the play was reviewed and he made three free throws after it was dominated a flagrant foul.

“I virtually fainted,” Ham stated. “… That was an enormous aid.”

Coming off the bench, Davis understandably seemed rusty — a lot completely different from the MVP-caliber play he had put collectively earlier than getting injured Dec. 16.

His first shot got here from the free-throw line, Lawrence Tanter saying “Annnnnthony Davis” simply earlier than the ball barely grazed the entrance of the rim.

The primary area purpose was a swished three-pointer. He added a end close to the rim, a silky turnaround jumper and a two-handed dunk earlier than the tip of the primary half.

Ham stated he needed Davis to come back off the bench so he’d be obtainable underneath his minutes restrict on the shut of the sport and that he was comfy with Davis’ restoration.

Lakers’ Rui Hachimura (28) stands his floor defensively as San Antonio Spurs ahead Stanley Johnson (34) drives to the basket within the first half at Crypto.com Area on Wednesday.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Occasions)

“Properly I simply assume he’s gone by some rigorous remedy, weight coaching, weight bearing workout routines, exercise on the court docket — each individually and a few group exercises. So we might save him from himself if we thought there was any kind of menace or hurt that he might do to himself,” Ham stated.

Davis checked in to a giant applause — a few of it aimed toward Rui Hachimura, who was standing proper beside him.

The Lakers’ latest acquisition additionally got here off the bench for his staff debut, trying as comfy as anticipated regardless of arriving in Los Angeles on Monday night time.

“We’ve a video playbook that he has full entry to, that he’s been utilizing, taking a look at. We’ve additionally bodily, manually put him by some scripting. In notably this morning, we went by that,” Ham stated.

When will LeBron James grow to be NBA’s all-time main scorer?

A take a look at LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring document.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar factors: 38,387

LeBron James factors: 38,230

Factors from document: 158 factors

Projected video games till document: 6

Projected document date: Feb. 7 vs. Thunder

Hachimura hit huge pictures within the Lakers’ second-half run, working from the three-point line, the block and on the rim. He completed with 12 factors, six rebounds and was a team-best plus-17 in 22 minutes.

The Lakers are headed for a small interval of adjustment as they grow to be totally wholesome — Lonnie Walker IV was upgraded to questionable earlier than being held out for 2 extra days of relaxation. Austin Reaves has additionally begun full-speed work on his injured hamstring.

Because of Davis and Hachimura being obtainable, Ham didn’t use Wenyen Gabriel or Juan Toscano-Anderson in his rotation. Each gamers helped the Lakers go 10-10 whereas Davis recovered.

Thomas Bryant, who had changed Davis within the beginning lineup, nonetheless began Wednesday however noticed a discount in touches and minutes.

They’re the great sort of issues to have, troublesome selections that matter solely as soon as the Lakers and Davis are wholesome.