When the Los Angeles Lakers lost Anthony Davis to what appears to be a serious ankle injury in the first half against the Utah Jazz, the team could have honestly been forgiven for throwing in the towel. For deciding that this just isn’t their year, that there is no post-All-Star break hope to fight for.
On Wednesday night though, that’s not what they did. The team never stopped pushing, going on a 16-2 run to retake the lead and complete a come-from-behind victory against the Utah Jazz, 105-101, to head into the break 27-31, with a glimmer of hope still alive that they at least aren’t quite ready to throw this season in the trash, despite their copious and near-constant levels misfortune.
LeBron James, as he has to be in these types of games, was sensational, especially down the stretch. He finished with 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, and scored 15 of those points in the fourth quarter as he knocked in a bevy of clutch threes down the stretch to help the team overcome Davis’ absence and beat Utah.
He simply wasn’t going to let them lose. Not on this night.
James also got some help from his friends from Arkansas, with Malik Monk’s steal and free throws with less than a minute left being quickly followed by Austin Reaves’ dagger three with 17.4 seconds remaining. Russell Westbrook (16 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds) also had a productive night for the purple and gold to help give the team energy and speed as they completed their comeback, before finally icing the game with two free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
So while logically, a serious, long-term injury to Davis would still appear likely to doom this team — despite the good vibes from this one — for one night, the Lakers weren’t ready to go gently into that good night. In spite of any issues LeBron may have with the front office, no matter how cursed this season might be, they’re not ready to die.
Not just yet.
Is that likely to matter when it comes to the team’s long-term fortunes? Probably not. But for one night, it was enough. And in a season without a lot of joy, this small victory in the face of adversity is worth celebrating.