Anthony Davis publicly stated that his goal was to play 82 games this season, something he’s never done in his career. In the third quarter, that goal faced a significant test.
Davis rotated over to help on Kawhi Leonard after the Clippers star spun past Patrick Beverley. Leonard caught Davis with an up fake, and Davis came crashing down on Leonard when the shot actually did go up. Here’s video of the play.
Davis stayed in the game for the next two-and-a-half minutes after the fall. At one point, Davis was the last Laker to pass mid-court and looked like he might have been baiting Ivica Zubac into forgetting about him on defense as he splashed a straightaway three; he then waived off a request for a sub from the bench immediately after. (Incidentally, JaVale McGee once executed a similar fake-out on Draymond Green. The guy who fed McGee the ball for his dunk? AD.)
But it became clear that Davis was having difficulty getting up and down the court, so the Lakers attempted to commit a take foul and eventually called timeout to get Davis off the floor. Davis appeared to be heading back to the locker room but he clarified postgame that he was simply walking to the tunnel so that he could stay on his feet. A new rule doesn’t allow players to stand in front of the bench (the Theo Pinson rule), and Davis didn’t want to get a technical foul, so he walked away.
“I just didn't want to sit down and let it stiffen up,” Davis said postgame. “I just went in the tunnel, tried to stay loose until I got called to go back in the game.”
Anthony Davis says he's "pretty sure I'll be alright" after taking a hard fall in the game against the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/RupSvmqdON— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 21, 2022
The score was 60-60 when Davis fell and 65-all when he went out of the game. The Clippers reeled off nine points in 1:40 with Davis off the floor, likely prompting his return sooner than expected. The lead extended all the way to 15 until Juan Toscano-Anderson hit a three to stop the bleeding and keep the Lakers in contact.
The real question now is how Davis responds to the fall over the next few days. He was already limited during preseason, missing half of the team’s games due to back tightness, and hitting the deck can’t have helped that situation. Davis looked pretty normal to close the game, though he played only 6:32 in the fourth quarter as the Lakers mounted a comeback. Presumably, a fully healthy AD would have been on the court for at least nine minutes.
Still, Davis was confident in his ability to bounce back and be ready Sunday as the Lakers chase their first win of the season.
“I’ll be alright,” Davis said. “We got two days between games, so whatever I gotta do to get it right for Sunday, it's an early game too so we’ll see how it is, but pretty sure I’ll be alright.”
The Lakers haven’t been able to bank on Davis’ health over the past two seasons, but it’s a new year, and Davis has a goal to meet. Hopefully, his body is up to the challenge.