Pregame Friday, Denver coach Michael Malone praised Anthony Davis, saying LeBron James’ insistence that the Lakers’ offense begins and ends with the team’s big man was the ultimate sign of respect.
In a stretch that has forced some to recalculate the Lakers’ potential, Davis has averaged 32.4 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks — reaffirming his place among the NBA’s best players.
If the Lakers were going anywhere, it’s because Davis was going to take them there.
But another fluke play — this time leading to a right foot injury — knocked Davis out of the game and reiterated how narrow the team’s path is moving forward.
Narrow, though, doesn’t mean impossible and for the second time this season, the Lakers beat Denver in Los Angeles, knocking off one of the best teams in the West 126-108.
Russell Westbrook fueled the Lakers’ sprinting pace, LeBron James was a force in transition and the Lakers’ role players seemed to all take turns keying huge moments with Davis hurting.
Seven different Lakers, led by James’ 30, scored at least 10 points. Thomas Bryant, tapped to fill-in at center for Davis, scored a season-high 21 points. It’s the most points for Bryant since he scored 21 on Jan. 3.
The Lakers’ star big appeared to injure the foot in the first quarter Monday on a reverse layup, clipping the outside of his right foot against the inside of Nikola Jokic’s leg.
He continued playing throughout the first half, scoring 10 points, before staying in the back after halftime.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Davis will undergo further evaluation Saturday.
The Lakers play Washington at home Sunday.