A nationally televised game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets should have been a big deal, but without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it didn’t feel right. The Lakers themselves have been battling injuries all season long, but help was finally on the way. Anthony Davis made his triumphant debut in Brooklyn after being out since December 17th.
Before the game, it was believed the Lakers would limit Davis’ minutes. While he did only play 25 minutes, that was more because he got into foul trouble. Early on, the rust did not show and his impact was felt immediately. For the first time in a long time the Lakers looked whole and Davis was at the center of that.
Man was it good to see Anthony Davis play basketball again
Check out the highlights of his first game in over a month pic.twitter.com/1TNQoha7xp
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) January 27, 2022
You look at the box score and it doesn’t seem like AD had a good game, but when he scored the first basket you could feel the confidence oozing out. It does not take an expert to know the Lakers are better with Davis on the floor, but it was the energy the Lakers played with that made it special. After the game, Frank Vogel and Russell Westbrook were quick to acknowledge his defensive presence.
Frank Vogel says he thought AD "really changed things" for the Lakers defensively tonight.
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) January 26, 2022
Russell Westbrook on Anthony Davis: "It's definitely different with his presence out there, especially on the defensive end."
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 26, 2022
The Lakers have been getting beat consistently, but now their defense gets their anchor back. While David won’t solve all of their problems defensively, it helps having him protecting the rim. Offensively too, he allows the Lakers to have a threat who can attack the paint and stretch the floor. If Davis is operating on all cylinders, the Lakers will be able to string together some wins.
The Lakers didn’t become title contenders overnight, they still have lot of questions that need to be answered. It was just nice to see LeBron James, Davis and Westbrook together hoping it could possibly work in the long run.
For now, it’s all about chemistry. Davis needs to get back into game shape and the big three have to figure this out. It is very likely the Lakers don’t do a thing by the trade deadline, so this is what we’ve got. How does it work? We can’t answer that yet, but the Lakers will surely try.