The Los Angeles Lakers have moved to 5-1 without Anthony Davis this season, winning 112-104 tonight in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
This was set to be the first of nine games that Davis will reportedly miss due to his re-aggravated Achilles and strained calf muscle. The Lakers were lucky enough to have the first of those games against the lowly T’Wolves who came into tonight 7-20 on the season.
Early on, it seemed like the Lakers were on their way to a disappointing night. They turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter alone, with the T’Wolves almost extending their lead to double digits in the middle of the 2nd quarter. The Lakers luckily settled down the rest of the way, only ending with 18 turnovers.
Here’s our recap!
Player of the game – Dennis Schröder
It’ll be interesting to see if any one specific player steps up in Davis’ place for the Lakers on the offensive end, or if it’ll be a different player night-to-night. For the first game with Davis out for an extended period, Dennis Schröder was that lone player. He would be the most obvious person to step up his contributions in Davis’ absence as he is the best creator on the team aside from LeBron James.
He scored often in isolation tonight, especially in the first half (14 points). He ends the game with 24 points (9/15 on FGs), four steals, and three assists.
Stat of the game – Alex Caruso with a +14 plus/minus
I just wanted to point out how funny it is that Alex Caruso could have the most “alright” looking game you can have, and yet there he is with the best plus/minus on the team. This has definitely been a trend in recent weeks, as it just goes to show how impactful Caruso is beyond the normal statistics you see in the box score.
Despite leading both teams in individual plus/minus, his stat line only included four points, three assists, two rebounds, a steal, and a block.
Quote of the night – “I like what we have to go to war with”
Frank Vogel on new acquisitions like Schroder/Harrell/Gasol and Matthews tonight:
"I like what we have to go to war with. We have a lot of guys on this roster that I believe in."
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 17, 2021
These were the words of head coach Frank Vogel after the game, commenting on the new Lakers players this season including Schröder, Gasol, Matthews, and Harrell. Vogel has such a deep roster, evidenced tonight in nine Lakers players playing at least 17 minutes even without Davis in the lineup. One of those players was an individual who returned for the Lakers this season — Markieff Morris. He’s had a mostly disappointing season thus far, but stepped up tonight with three three-pointers and a +6 off the bench in place of AD.
Who knows if players like Morris will even play in the playoffs with the embarrassment of riches that Vogel has on this roster. But as Vogel said, it’s nice to know there are guys on the end of the bench that he “believes in”.
The Lakers will now head back home to host one of the most top-heavy teams in the NBA in the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden will look to take advantage of the Lakers without AD on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. PST.