After almost two weeks to the day, Anthony Davis will make his return for the Los Angeles Lakers when they take on the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Monday. Davis has missed the last five games with a gluteus maximus contusion he suffered against the New York Knicks on Jan. 7.
It’s likely that Davis will play with a minutes restriction, as most players do after missing nearly two weeks, but luckily that’s not expected to be the difference between the Lakers coming out with a win and not. The Lakers went 4-1 in the five games Davis was sidelined, with wins against the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets. Their lone loss came against the Orlando Magic.
UPDATE: Anthony Davis will be on a calculated minutes restriction, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
Frank Vogel said AD has a minutes restriction of 28 minutes which will be split evenly between the four quarters.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 20, 2020
As long as Kyle Kuzma can build on the production he showed as a starter with the second unit, the Lakers should be able to exploit the Celtics’ bench — a unit that produces the third-least points per game in the NBA. Kuzma averaged 20 points per game on 45.9% from the field, including 33.3% from behind the arc, in the five games he started in Davis’ place. On the season, Kuzma’s averaging 13.2 points per on 43.3% shooting from the field.
As for the starting five, Davis’ size alone should give the Lakers the edge on Monday. With Robert Williams still sidelined for the Celtics, they don’t have anyone that has size the size or strength to matchup with Davis in the post. That’s not to mention the two-headed monster of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard at the center position.
As long as the Lakers follow Frank Vogel’s gameplan, they should be able to start off the road trip on the right foot. Tip-off is at 4:30 p.m on TNT nationally and Spectrum SportsNet locally.
Notes and Updates
- Rajon Rondo will play against his former team. He was previously listed as questionable to play due to the finger fracture he suffered against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 11.
- Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown will return to the starting lineup for the Celtics on Monday. The Celtics have lost six of their last 10 games, including their last three.
- LeBron James needs 81 points to pass Kobe Bryant for the No. 3 spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Do what you will with that information.
- Kemba Walker has never won a game against LeBron James, and there’s a good chance James knows that.