June 15, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Lakers pull out OT win over Thunder without Anthony Davis

His calf and his adductor muscle. His toe and his back. His ankle and his quad. And, now, his right Achilles tendon.

Anthony Davis has been on the Lakers’ injury report more than he’s been on the block, the trip up and down his body perhaps a reminder why the forward has not been the same player that he was in his first season with the Lakers.

While seeing any player’s name attached to an Achilles injury is a little scary, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the team is merely being precautionary with one of its stars.

Davis missed his fourth game of the season Monday night against Oklahoma City, with the Lakers hopeful that he could return as soon as Wednesday night for the rematch with the Thunder.

“A.D. has some soreness in the Achilles area,” Vogel said before the game at Staples Center. “Nothing to really be concerned about.”

Without Davis, the Lakers were lackluster at best. LeBron James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, his 500th career double-double coming on a night when he had a triple-double. The Lakers were able to beat the short-handed Thunder 119-112 in overtime.

Davis underwent tests on his sore Achilles tendon Sunday after he aggravated it early in the Lakers’ double-overtime win over the Detroit Pistons the night before. The tests came back clean, but there was still some soreness, so the team decided to hold him out.

Even though he has been banged up, there really haven’t been concerns about Davis in any regard through the season’s first third, even if his play has slightly regressed from his first year with the Lakers.

Davis is averaging fewer points and rebounds than he did last season, his free-throw percentage of 70.2 is a career worst, and he’s getting to the line the fewest times since his rookie season.

“I think it can break your rhythm a little bit when you’re trying to get going and trying to ramp up after an unconventional offseason,” Vogel said. “But it’s just the nature of an 82- or 72-game season. You’re going to get banged up from time to time.”

Davis is averaging 22.3points this season and had missed three games before Monday’s against the Thunder. Each of the previous absences was either on the first or second night of a back-to-back.

During the preseason, Davis flashed the potential to be a more consistent threat from three-point range. Last season in the playoffs, he made 38.3% on nearly three attempts from deep per game, and Vogel and the Lakers talked about him doubling that number.

Davis hit a big corner three late in the Lakers’ win Saturday, but he dribbled out of a handful of other possible attempts, looking like a player with wavering confidence in that part of his game.

In the first seven games this season, Davis had three games in which he made at least three three-pointers. In his last 14 games, he has not done it once, and he is shooting 31.5% on three-point tries for the season.

“I’m confident,” Davis said Saturday when asked about his three-point shooting. “The team gets on me and the players get on me about shooting them, especially when I’m open. But I just try to make the right play.”

Vogel, who advocated for Davis to increase the number of shots he takes from three-point territory, said he still believes Davis is confident from beyond the arc.

“We want him to shoot it in rhythm,” Vogel said before the game Monday. “There are times when the ball swings to him and he passes it up. …We just want him to be aggressive. The number isn’t really that important to me, but we just want him to be aggressive in those situations.”

But mostly, the Lakers just want Davis and his Achilles tendon healthy.

“It was pretty sore yesterday … and they just wanted to be cautious with this injury,” Vogel said. “So we haven’t discussed if it’s going to be multiple games or not. I think as of now, he’s going to miss tonight, and hopefully, he feels better tomorrow and is ready to go on Wednesday.”