Basketball

Depleted Lakers' victory is a statement: Anthony Davis

Scuffling the past week, the Los Angeles Lakers ground out a 93-89 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets yesterday morning (Singapore time) to end a three-match losing run.

In the absence of LeBron James and Dennis Schroeder, the Lakers played with renewed energy. Anthony Davis had his best game since returning a week ago from a right-calf strain, finishing with 25 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

"It just gives us momentum," the 28-year-old forward said.

"We lose to the two teams that we felt we should have beaten and then come in tonight and get a win against a big-time team who's playing well.

"Sort of a statement game for us. Sort of a game just to get us back in a win column and make us feel good and get us that momentum that we need to finish out the rest of these seven games."

Davis came up with a key block at the end of the game on a Facundo Campazzo three-point attempt to seal the win.

With the victory, the Lakers (37-28) moved back into the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, half a game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks and a game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The loss ended Denver's five-game winning streak and dropped the Nuggets (43-22) into a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 3 seed in the West.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Schroeder is likely out for the rest of the regular season, as he will miss the next 10 to 14 days due to the NBA's Covid-19 protocols. Schroeder had missed four games earlier this season for the same reason.

James also did not play in the second game of a back-to-back, resting his sore right ankle. He will be assessed daily.

Three spots behind the Lakers are the Golden State Warriors, who defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 123-108 - thanks to Stephen Curry's 41-point tally - to stay firmly in the hunt for a play-in place.

Over in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards consolidated their hold on the 10th seed and final play-in spot with a 154-141 win over the visiting Indiana Pacers.

Russell Westbrook recorded his 32nd triple-double of the season with 14 points, a career-high 21 rebounds and 24 assists. - AFP, REUTERS

Basketball