Dave McMenaminESPN Editor4 minute read
LOS ANGELES – While Lakers big man Anthony Davis admitted that tightness in his left hip grew in the first half Wednesday night, he wouldn’t blame his poor play in a 125-110 loss to the Kings of Sacramento.
“I just played bad,” Davis said after tying a season-low with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting. “I’m not going to put it on anything. … It was just shots missed. I just played like crap tonight. It’s as simple as that.”
Davis, who has been dealing with a hip injury for more than a week, wasn’t the only one struggling as the Lakers’ three-game winning streak came to an end. He had five turnovers and Los Angeles coughed him up 23 times as a team, leading to 30 points for the Kings.
The Lakers led by 20 points in the first quarter and 26 in the game, while Sacramento led by 29 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Domantas Sabonis; 28 points, 5 assists and 4 steals De’Aaron Fox; and 28 points, 7 assists and 2 steals Kevin Huerter.
Davis, meanwhile, appeared to be limited in his movement by the same injury that caused him to miss the end of the Lakers’ road loss to the Miami heatfollowed by their 34-point drubbing at Houston Rockets.
It was disheartening to see, considering how dominant Davis appeared in the Lakers’ 134-107 blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday, when he scored 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 blocks in 27 minutes.
The difference between the two games for Davis was not only in the results, but also in the preparation. With the Kings game on the second night of a row, treatment options were limited.
“I still deal with it every day,” Davis said. “Obviously, we don’t have that day to really attack back to back. But that’s how it is. I get dressed, I’m going to play. I have to be more efficient. Obviously, it was always embarrassing for me a little, but I still have to go out there and do my job.”
Los Angeles trailed by 23 points heading into the fourth quarter, and with a schedule as busy as it is – with a third game in four nights Friday at Portland Trail Blazers with a flight in between – Lakers coach Darvin Ham could have pulled the plug sooner.
Instead, he kept his key rotation players, and they managed to cut the margin to nine with 3:05 left before Sacramento settled back to put the game out of reach.
“I told them at the break, at the end of the third, ‘We’ve got about four or five minutes to see if we can do something and build that lead, minimize the deficit,'” Ham said. “And they came out, we changed our zone defense, which helped slow them down a little bit, and we were able to shoot on the other end. … The five guys that finished for us, you gotta give give them a chance to see what we can do.
The Lakers were not able to enjoy a good evening of LeBron Jameswho became the second-oldest player to post a triple-double, finishing with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Karl Malone did it at age 40 while playing for the Lakers; James will turn 39 next month. In doing so, James passed Jason Kidd for 5th place on the all-time triple-double list with 108. And he also went 3 of 7 on 3-pointers, passing Jason Terry for 8th place all-time. time. List 3s with 2,283.
The exploits were moot for James, who acknowledged where the Lakers find themselves at 6-6, still missing the expected rotation pieces in Jared Vanderbilt And Gabe Vincentwith other challenges on the horizon.
“We have too many games coming up for us very soon and they are going to fly away,” James said. “It’s three nights out of four. We play Friday. We play Sunday. We have a lot of games coming up. You learn from some mistakes. You learn from some of the good things. But then you move on.”
Davis assured reporters that when the team visits Portland on Friday, he will be back in the lineup, despite the hip discomfort he experienced against the Kings.
“It’ll be fine,” he said. “Yeah, I’ll play. Of course.”