The Los Angeles Lakers have won their first game of the season thanks to a gutsy performance from an injured Anthony Davis and some key contributions from Russell Westbrook.
AD dropped 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Brodie posted 18 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in 32 minutes off the bench. LeBron James led the Lakers in scoring with 26 points, six rebounds, and eight assists on 10-22 shooting. The Lakers also knocked down a season-high 13 three-pointers on 43.5 percent shooting from deep.
Davis deserves plenty of credit for guiding the Lakers through a gutsy win. AD is battling through lower back soreness that’s forced him to labor up and down the court. However, the Brow still found a way to gut it out against the back-to-back and reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic (23 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks), a player that could wear you out thanks to his physicality and ability to beat you multiple ways.
“Huge impact, man, the way he fought through that,” Ham said, per The Athletic. “I care about his body. I want him to be the AD that we all know he can be on that championship run. He showed it tonight. His tenaciousness on defense. Timely shot-making. Communicating.”
+2, AD. pic.twitter.com/FCxHmxFVOh
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 31, 2022
The eight-time All-Star also scored eight points in the fourth to help the Lakers fend off a charging Nuggets team looking to mount a comeback. The tough win drew some cheers and applause for Davis, who left everything on the court. Especially after a scary moment where, after AD tapped in a missed shot, he audibly groaned as his back flared up.
When Ham asked Davis if he wanted to come out, Davis said, “no. Hell no. I got you. I’m with you.” Ham remarked how “determined” Davis was “to finish this game.”
“You saw on that putback, it kinda just comes and goes, these little shocks that go,” Davis said. “But at that point, it’s like you’re playing off of adrenaline. So, I know tonight, maybe tomorrow, I’m probably going to feel it more. But it’s all manageable. Just gotta do what I can to make sure I’m on the floor to help the team win.”
Postgame, David admitted he was in a “pretty good amount of pain” but also reiterated that the pain he was feeling was manageable. He also said he dislikes the injury-prone label he’s received over the last two seasons and was candid about the mental toll all the injuries took on him.
Ham said he doesn’t need the two-time block leader to be a “hero.” Davis said he’s “in a great space mentally” and that he’s not letting his injury “stop me” while imploring that he’s “doing everything I can to make sure I can go out there and play, and we’ll deal with the rest when that time comes.”
The Lakers are now 1-5 with clashes against the Pelicans, Jazz, Cavaliers, and Clippers coming up.