LOS ANGELES — Lakers star big man Anthony Davis returned Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 21 points in the victory of 113-104 Los Angeles victory while coming off the bench for the first time in over a decade.
Afterward , he claimed he could not remember any of the instances when he did not start as a professional.
“It was definitely new for me since I’ve been playing,” Davis declared. “I told them, I said the last time I came off the bench was the 2012 Olympics.”
Davis has been who has been out for 5 1/2 weeks due to fractured bone spurs and a tension reaction on his foot was cleared for play following his pregame warm-up on Wednesday, about two hours before kickoff.
“I’m happy for him, first and foremost,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said prior to the game. “I know how frustrating this process has been for him, especially at the level at which he was playing. I’m just happy for him, and definitely happy for us. We’ll get him out there, we won’t go too crazy with his minutes, and see how he responds.”
Davis was on the court his first appearance in just 4:22 left in the first period and played for 26 minutes while the team tasked him with managing his work load. Along with his team-leading 21 points , on 7-of-15 shooting, Davis also contributed four blocks and 12 rebounds.
Last time Davis made an appearance off the bench during the game was on Dec. 18th, 2013 during a game in Los Angeles against the Clippers in his second season for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Davis his time off the bench is likely to last only a few minutes. He’ll be back in the starting team with the Boston Celtics on Saturday, sources have told ESPN.
As good as Davis seemed overall There were some shaky moments.
His first chunk of playing time during the first quarter was a bit shaky and included a free throw attempt that he smashed against the board.
“I was kind of just testing the water,” Davis explained. “Even though I’ve been playing pick-up and things, you can control that pace. In real games, you can’t. They’re flying down the floor and you’ve got to sprint back or your team is running.”
At the end the third quarter Davis attempted a 3-pointer in the center court, and was taken down at the end of third quarter by Zach Collins, who was penalized with a flagrant offense for removing Davis the landing space after an examination of video by officials.
The impact resulted in Davis to tumble to the ground and rotate his right anklethe same leg that has kept him out from mid-December.
“I almost fainted,” Ham told reporters when asked how he felt about the incident. “To see him jump up, bounce up, ‘Big Fella, you good?’ He said, ‘I’m all right. I’m OK.’ So, that was a huge relief to see him overcome that unfortunate play.”
Davis continued to play and completed all three free throws following the foul being adjudged.
“Foot is fine. Ankle is fine. Body feels good,” he added.
Prior to playing, Ham was asked if Davis was completely recovered or whether the team had any concerns regarding the eight-time All-Star injured player.
“He’s gone through some rigorous therapy, weight training, weight-bearing exercises, activity on the court — both individually and some group workouts,” Ham stated. “We would save him from himself if we thought there was any type of threat or harm that he could do to himself. So he had these boxes that he had to check, and he’s checked all of them. So we feel comfortable with him appearing tonight.”
Rui Hachimura, who was acquired in an exchange to the Washington Wizards earlier this week He made the Lakers debut in the game against the Spurs and also made his way off the bench to check into the game at the same time as Davis. They were greeted by a roaring ovation from fans in the Lakers crowd.
Hachimura scored 12 points, shooting 4-of-7 in just 22 minutes.
“He can really, really help us on both ends of the floor,” Davis stated of Hachimura. “Obviously, him getting acclimated with the team is going to take time. But tonight, it looked he was able to fit in really well.”