Any reservations held about how Anthony Davis would look after over a month on the sidelines were erased 18 seconds into Tuesday’s game against the Nets when Davis took a poorly-thrown pass and slammed it home. It looked like a vintage Davis play oozing with athleticism and amazement.
First play of the game. Great to have you back, @AntDavis23 pic.twitter.com/dljoittWhw— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 26, 2022
It was the highlight of the evening for Davis — though that would be the case for him on any night — in a game he was limited to 25 minutes, partly due to a minutes restriction and partly due to foul trouble. With the Lakers in the midst of a road trip, Davis wasn’t able to get in much practice time before making his debut. Still, with the team needing him to return, Davis did his best to prepare himself for Tuesday and is primed to help the Lakers in the coming days and weeks.
“I feel ready,” Davis said. “We don’t practice much, don’t have much practice time but was still able to get some 1-no-1, 2-on-2s and see how it felt. I was ready enough to go tonight. I don’t know about the whole minute restriction thing. I think that might, for me, come off. I might tell them I don’t need that but we’ll see.
“We’ve got a back-to-back coming up and we want to play that smart but for the most part, I felt fine. I felt great out there. The first couple of minutes, the adrenaline took over and after that went away, the wind caught up to me. When I got my second wind, I was fun the rest of the game. We’ll see how it reacts tomorrow, first live action and go from there.”
The comments about his minutes restriction are interesting. On one hand, the Lakers have long been a team that slowly brings players back from injuries and Davis was no exception. But if there was a player an exception could be made for, it would be Davis.
LeBron James’ thoughts on load management and limiting minutes could be shared by Davis. With a desire to get into a rhythm and stay there, Davis could have similar views as James. It’s nothing more than a theory but there is some smoke to it.
What isn’t a theory, though, is that Davis will have to continue to ramp up in games with practice time still not available during the road trip.
“Until I get my legs, I have to use these games to get my legs but I don’t think about it when I’m playing,” Davis said. “I don’t want to babysit it. I feel like if I have to babysit it then I shouldn’t be on the floor. So, when I’m out there playing, I just try to go out there and do what I have to do to help the team win and let the rest just take of itself. I don’t think ‘Oh this move bothered me before, don’t do it.’ I just go out there and play.”
The good news for the Lakers is that everything coming out of the game has been positive regarding Davis. For a Lakers team that desperately needs him available, it’s a very good step in the right direction.
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