The Los Angeles Lakers are still the defending NBA champions, but they are not without their weaknesses. Ones that the league's other premier teams are beginning to exploit.

The NBA's oldest team wheezes into the All-Star break with losses in six of their last eight games and looking up at the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns – and possibly cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Clippers – in the Western Conference standings. And although that entire rough stretch has come with Anthony Davis sidelined by an Achilles' strain, the difference-making forward's absence does not solely explain the Lakers' slump.

There is no debate that the Lakers are a far better team with Davis on the floor, but the offensive struggles that have been exposed during the team's recent descent into mediocrity were in reality present even when the perennial All-Star was healthy. In 21 games since January 30, the Purple and Gold rank 22nd in the NBA in points per game, 24th in offensive rating, and dead last in three-point percentage with a 31.0 percent success rate from beyond the arc.

Granted, the Lakers were not a prolific perimeter shooting team during last year's championship run. Their ratio of points from three-pointers to total points stood at 29.1 percent, which ranked 25th in the NBA. That was 2019-20, however. This is 2020-21, a season in which triples are being taken and made at historic levels, and it is no coincidence that the teams that currently rank in the top four in three-point percentage (Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks) also happen to own four of the top seven winning percentages.

The Jazz seemingly provided the blueprint on how to attack the Lakers when they knocked down 22 threes in handing the Los Angeles franchise their most lopsided loss of the season, a 114-89 defeat on February 24. The Suns followed the plan to a T when they drained 16 triples in a win earlier this week.

Truth is, those teams' methods were more of a trend than a discovery. The Lakers have allowed 14 or more three-pointers only 10 times in 37 games thus far, but they have lost eight of those contests. Just six teams have a lower winning percentage than the Lakers when permitting that many treys in a game, and none of them would be headed to the playoffs right now (for the record, those teams are the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks).

The initial reaction may be to believe that this is some sort of defensive issue, but it is not. The Lakers still lead the league in defensive rating and rank in the top 10 in three-point percentage defense. But it is become more than apparent that they have had trouble keeping up against opponents that can bomb away from long range with high proficiency, a real potential problem down the road should they meet the Jazz or Clippers in the playoffs, or the Nets in a possible Finals scenario.

The Lakers have one player, the streaky Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is shooting 38 percent or better from beyond the arc while taking at least three three-pointers per game. The Clippers have seven such players, the Jazz six. The Nets have five, as do the Denver Nuggets, who have battled inconsistency and injuries but showed in a dominant win over the Lakers last month that they are still plenty dangerous.

Getting Davis back will surely help matters, as the chart below illustrates the offensive impact he brings when on the floor.

LAKERS, WITH/WITHOUT ANTHONY DAVIS ON COURT, 2020-21

(/100 = per 100 possessions)

With/Without

Points/100 – 112.8/106.4

FG Pct – .498/.469

Three-Pt Pct – .371/.338

Turnovers/100 – 13.9/15.5

 

The difference Davis makes, particularly from a shooting efficiency perspective, is more than evident. But is that enough, especially with there being no guarantee he will remain healthy throughout the postseason grind?

In hindsight, the contributions Danny Green made to last year's title run as a floor stretcher and perimeter defender may have been seriously undervalued. Wesley Matthews was supposed to fill that role following Green's initial trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder (before joining the Philadelphia 76ers) for Dennis Schroder, but he is shooting a career-worst 33.7 percent on threes and has been a complete non-factor offensively during the Lakers' current rut.

Caldwell-Pope's shot has gone south of late as well. In fact, he has had one of the steepest individual drop-offs from the perimeter over the last month-plus.

LARGEST DECREASE IN THREE-POINT PCT, PRE-FEBRUARY VS. REST OF SEASON – 2020-21

(min, 3.0 3PA/individual game)

Pre-Feb Since 2/1 Diff.

Tobias Harris, Phi – .464/.279/-.185

Wayne Ellington, Det – .505/.333/-.172

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL – .478/.317/-.161

Garrett Temple, Chi – .408/.255/-.153

Desmond Bane, Mem – .520/.377/-.143

 

To summarise, the Lakers do not necessarily need another shooter if they are operating at full strength, though bringing one in surely would not hurt. That brings us to the next question – who could or should general manager Rob Pelinka be targeting at the trade deadline for some added reinforcements?

In a perfect world, the answer would be Bradley Beal should the Washington Wizards be open to parting with the league's current leading scorer. That is also a complete fantasy since the Lakers have neither the assets nor cap flexibility to pull off such a blockbuster. Even a less pricey option like JJ Redick is not realistic. Pelinka will need to do some bargain-hunting if he wants to buy.

Here are a few likely available options that seem to fit the Lakers' needs and price range:

Wayne Ellington, Pistons

Though he has been off the mark lately (see above), the 33-year-old journeyman is still hitting at an over 43 percent clip on three-pointers, is on a cheap contract and can likely be had for minimal cost with Detroit in the midst of a massive rebuild. Ellington would be a liability on the defensive end, but those deficiencies could be mitigated by the Lakers' strong supporting cast.

Ben McLemore, Rockets

McLemore is having a terrible year for a terrible Rockets team, but he shot 40 percent or better from three-point range in each of the previous two seasons and may benefit from a change of scenery. Team-mate Sterling Brown does not have McLemore's overall track record, but he is shooting above 40 percent on threes this season and could be a target as well.

George Hill, Thunder

A onetime team-mate of LeBron James in Cleveland, Hill would be an excellent fit as a sharp-shooting, savvy veteran who can alleviate some ball-handling duties from the King and Schroder. Though clearly not part of the Thunder's long-term plans, Hill's value and $9.6million salary still may be a tad too costly for the Lakers, who might have to part with a young asset like Kyle Kuzma to get a deal done.

The Lakers will not be making major moves at the deadline, nor should they have to with a roster that is deep, experienced and sports two of the game's best players. But in a season that is unveiled several legitimate challengers to their throne, playing it safe may just be the greatest risk.

LeBron James feels the Los Angeles Lakers are finding their rhythm without Anthony Davis after a comfortable 117-91 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Davis is averaging 22.5 points, three assists and 8.4 rebounds this season, as well as 1.8 blocks, 1.3 steals and two turnovers per game.

However, he has been absent since sustaining a calf injury on February 14 and the Lakers had lost five of six without Davis prior to winning their past two.

Against the Warriors, six Lakers players reached double figures, with James putting up 19 and able to play a season-low 24 minutes such was their dominance.

"When you lose a mega piece like AD, it's going to take some time offensively and defensively how we want to play, what's going to be our rhythm," James said after his 1,300th regular-season game. 

"The last couple of games we've done a good job of trying to say, 'This is where we're going to have the ball, this is where we'll be effective, this is where we need to run'. Guys are just staying ready."

This season the Lakers are trying to repeat the championship success they enjoyed in the disrupted 2019-20 campaign.

Opposition coach Steve Kerr knows a thing or two about repeats, having won three straight with the Chicago Bulls as a player – he individually won four in a row having then joined the San Antonio Spurs – while the Warriors won three in four seasons, including going back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.

Kerr suggested the unusual circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic meant this season might be the toughest ever to try to complete a repeat – a notion James felt might have some merit.

"It's been extremely tough, you literally have to self-motivate yourself every single day," he added.

"We're playing every other day, if not back-to-backs, there's not much down time so you have to motivate yourself. 

"Us and Sac [the Sacramento Kings] and the Clips [the Los Angeles Clippers] and Golden State, we don't have the luxury of having fans right now. 

"I've been watching a lot of games of late, and there's been 1,500, 2,000 fans, whatever the case may be, and it gives you an extra boost. 

"I'm just waiting, hopefully sooner rather than later we can have fans here in California, especially here at Staples. 

"It's very challenging, got to have the self-discipline, self-motivation and have trust in your team-mates to know you'll get the energy."

The Lakers are second in the West following their win and now have a 24-11 record for the season.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker will step in to replace injured Los Angeles Laker, Anthony Davis, in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.

Davis is suffering from Achilles tendinosis and a strained right calf, leading to commissioner Adam Silver to choose Booker as an alternate, one day after he was overlooked by league head coaches.

Booker joins Suns team-mate Chris Paul as a 2021 All-Star, earning his second selection after making his debut last season.

The duo have led Phoenix to the fourth-best record in the competition, 20-10, setting their team's best record through 30 games in the past 13 years.

The All-Star captains, Lakers superstar LeBron James and Brooklyn Nets ace Kevin Durant, will draft their rosters on March 4 for the game at State Farm Arena, Atlanta, on March 7.

Seventeen-time All-Star James had tweeted: "Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league!!! Simple as that," after Booker was snubbed from the All-Star reserves list.

Booker is averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds during the 2020-21 season and has dropped a career-high 50.1 per cent of his field-goal attempts.

James Harden and Anthony Davis headline the reserves for next month's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will captain their respective sides – Team LeBron and Team Durant – in the 70th All-Star contest on March 7.

Nets guard and former MVP Harden has been named an All-Star for the ninth consecutive year as he headlines the Eastern Conference reserves, which also includes Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (both Boston Celtics), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Julius Randle (New York Knicks) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic).

Brown, LaVine and Randle have earned All-Star selection for the first time in their careers.

Lakers star Davis is the pick of the Western Conference reserves, alongside 11-time All-Star Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns.

Joining the pair as reserves from the west are Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers), Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert (both Utah Jazz), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) and Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans) – who is a first-time All-Star.

The All-Star Game rosters will be determined through a March 4 draft, where James and Durant will select from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference.

The 10 All-Star Game starters were unveiled last week, with Durant, Kyrie Irving (Nets) two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards) and Joel Embiid (76ers) in the Eastern Conference starter pool.

James, Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) and Kawhi Leonard (Clippers) are in the Western Conference starter pool.

76ers head coach Doc Rivers will coach Team Durant, while Quin Snyder of the Jazz will coach Team LeBron.

LeBron James believes he needs to adjust in the absence of Anthony Davis because his Los Angeles Lakers team-mates are already doing "their part and more".

The Lakers have gone 2-1 since Davis sustained a calf injury in the defeat to the Denver Nuggets last weekend, going down 96-94 to the Miami Heat on Saturday after a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

The reigning NBA champions sit third in the Western Conference but will be without Davis for the next four weeks.

James had 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists against the Heat, while a steal on an inbounds pass for Jimmy Butler gave Alex Caruso a chance to tie the game at the buzzer but the Lakers guard missed.

By scoring at least 15 points with a minimum of five rebounds and five assists for a 31st straight game, James broke the previous NBA record of 30 in succession that he set in 2018.

However, he insisted it is on him to adapt and help get the Lakers back on track ahead of a tough stretch without Davis, who leads the Lakers in rebounds, steals and blocks.

"I think that's what it all boils down to and right now is another challenge for me, to be able to adjust," James said.

"Not having AD for a long period of time is something that we haven't had over the last year and a half, and now it's time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames, because that is the sport that we're in.

"We're in the winning business and I've always been a winner. So, it's time to click into that."

On his team-mates, he added: "They are doing their part. They're doing their part and more. Every time we're on the floor we're trying to protect each other and bring each other up on the floor every single night.

"It doesn't matter if you're making shots or not, we're gonna hold each other accountable. Everybody's picking up in AD's absence and obviously it hasn't been in wins the last two games but we're gonna continue working our habits and continue to be great for one another."

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and called on his fellow role players at the Lakers to provide James with greater support.

"I feel like the last couple games that's been happening, putting a lot on Bron. We already know what we're going to get out of him. So, all the rest of us, we've got to continue to just play hard and just play basketball and not worry about anything else," said Caldwell-Pope.

"We try to help him out as much as possible and we want to do it as perfect as possible, as we can.

"We try to help him out, we try not to make too much mistakes when we're on the floor with him or even running a play with him, just to give him some help. We do ask Bron for a lot, he gives us a lot each and every game.

"It's up to us as far as like role players and 'next man up' mentality, we've got to be ready and locked in."

LeBron James' double-double fired the Los Angeles Lakers back to winning ways, while James Harden stepped up to rally the Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets past the high-flying Phoenix Suns.

James put up 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the reigning NBA champions leaned on their defense in the 112-104 victory over the last-placed Minnesota Timberwolves.

Without the injured Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder played the supporting role for James, posting 24 points, while the Lakers battled to claim eight steals and seven blocks in a closely fought contest.

After taking a two-point lead into the fourth quarter at Target Center, the road side pulled away in the closing stages to improve to 22-7 in second place in the Western Conference.

Harden pulled out the stops with a double-double to lead the Nets to a sensational 128-124 comeback win against the Suns, despite playing without Irving after the star guard felt tightness in his lower back.

Nets coach Steve Nash revealed Irving received treatment at half-time of Brooklyn's win against the Sacramento Kings on Monday but expects the six-time All-Star to only be sidelined in the short term.

The Nets surged, scoring 40 fourth-quarter points to turn around a 24-point deficit, with Harden (38 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds) backed up by Joe Harris (22 points) as they halted the Suns' six-game winning streak.

Jokic burns Celtics but Nuggets fall short, Zion on target for Pelicans

Nikola Jokic lit up the Boston Celtics, scoring 43 points, but the Denver Nuggets could still not make triple-digits as their three-game winning stretch was ended in a 112-99 loss.

Zion Williamson shot an efficient 31 points, sinking 13 of his 16 field-goal efforts and going four-of-four from the free-throw line, as the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a three-match losing run with a 144-113 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard’s 31-point, 10-assist double-double led the Portland Trail Blazers past the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 115-104 win, while centre Enes Kanter pulled down 21 rebounds.

 

Bazley struggles to take his chances

The Thunder never recovered against the Blazers after falling 34-21 behind in the first quarter and forward Darius Bazley was one player that could not find his range.

Bazley shot four from 16 from the field for 14 points during his 36 minutes on court, only dropping one his seven efforts from three-point range.

 

Giannis powers up but the Raps edge the Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo proved unplayable at times, scoring 34 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 124-113 loss against the Toronto Raptors, as he ghosted past three defenders for one of his buckets.

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 112-99 Denver Nuggets
Portland Trail Blazers 115-104 Oklahoma City Thunder 
Los Angeles Lakers 112-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 144-113 Memphis Grizzlies 
Toronto Raptors 124-113 Milwaukee Bucks 
Brooklyn Nets 128-124 Phoenix Suns

 

Jazz at Clippers

There has been no stopping the Utah Jazz, who have won eight straight and 19 of their past 20 games to establish a lead in the Western Conference, but a tough challenge awaits when they go on the road to face the third-placed Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James hailed the depth within the NBA champions covering the absence of injured star Anthony Davis in Tuesday's 112-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis suffered an Achilles strain during Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, though he avoided a rupture as he sat out the Timberwolves clash.

In his absence, James posted 30 points, had 13 rebounds and seven assists, but also had support from German guard Dennis Schroder (24 points), who arrived from Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason.

James is averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.9 assists per game this season, with a .759 win percentage. According to Stats Perform, this is the fourth time in his illustrious career he is averaging 25/seven/seven while winning at least 75 per cent of his games played in a season. No other player in NBA history has had such a season.

Fellow recruits Marc Gasol (11 points and five rebounds), Montrezl Harrell (17 points off the bench) and Wesley Matthews also all earned praise also from the four-time NBA MVP.

"To have the production that we had tonight from our group, Dennis, Trez, Wes and Marc they were huge for us," James told Spectrum Sportsnet post-game.

'We went out in the offseason and got some really good pieces. Tonight was an example of that.

"We had one of our biggest pieces out and everyone came in and chipped in a bit more."

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis has been cleared of a suspected rupture of his right Achilles tendon following an MRI scan.

Davis, who left Sunday's 122-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets after suffering an Achilles strain, will miss Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and will be further evaluated by the NBA champions upon his return to Los Angeles.

The seven-time All-Star missed two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder with tendonosis in his right heel before returning in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

After posting 35 points against the Grizzlies, Davis only lasted 14 minutes – finishing with 15 points – as the Lakers went down to the Nuggets.

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said he felt "completely fine" before aggravating an Achilles injury in the NBA champions' defeat to the Denver Nuggets as he awaits the results of an MRI scan.

Davis, who posted 15 points in 14 minutes, suffered an Achilles strain in the Lakers' 122-105 loss to the Nuggets on Sunday.

The seven-time All-Star was held out of the second half as the Lakers saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Davis, who returned from a two-game absence caused by Achilles tendonitis on Friday, will undergo a scan on Monday.

"Just driving, I think that last step kind of re-aggravated the injury I already had," he said. "Now, it feels like an Achilles sprain. 

"Got an MRI tomorrow and try to figure out the next steps to get on the floor."

Davis – who insisted he and the Lakers followed all the right steps for his initial return – added: "Today was the first day that it felt completely fine. I didn't feel it at all this morning, afternoon, pre-game. I felt like I was heading in the right direction. 

"The treatment and rehab side. Another setback but it's part of the game. More so frustrated that I couldn't go out there and play, but you don't want to mess around with this type of injury. Trying to figure out the best steps.

"I felt great coming back the first time against Memphis [Grizzlies]. I'll do the same thing, the same steps to get it back right. Be smarter with it, I was smart the first time, but even smarter this time. Up the treatment more to get it back where it used to be to help the team."

Superstar Lakers team-mate LeBron James, who led the Lakers with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, added: "Just want him to be healthy and get back to full strength. All I care is about his health.

"It's definitely deflating anytime you lose a big player – a big guy on your team.

"We have a lot of things that's built in around AD and a lot of other players. When he goes down, you have to switch up. That hurt us."

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis admitted he is not prepared to take any risks with an Achilles problem that has ruled him out of the NBA champions' last two games.

The injury was revealed on Sunday after Davis produced a 30-point haul against the Detroit Pistons, and the seven-time All-Star subsequently missed a pair of midweek wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Davis featured in 83 of 92 games to help the Lakers end their 10-year championship drought last season - his first in Los Angeles following a blockbuster trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.

And although Davis insisted he can play through the pain barrier, the thought of rushing back and aggravating the issue in the lead up to the NBA playoffs is something the 27-year-old is not willing to entertain.

"I think every other game... I've wanted to play in. This is just a different circumstance with it being an Achilles," Davis said, after suffering tendonosis in his right heel.

"If it was a quad or finger, anything like that, I wouldn't mind playing. But I just don't really want to play around with an Achilles.

"Today was the first day we were able to practice, get some run-in with some guys to really test it out.

"I just don't want to play a game where I still feel it and then get hurt and now I'm out for the playoffs or whatever or for multiple weeks."

The Lakers extended their winning streak to six games with Wednesday’s 114-113 overtime victory against the Thunder and sit second in the Eastern Conference at 20-6.

The defending champions host the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on Friday and Davis was back on court during a specially-arranged Thursday practice session.

Although Davis was also dealing with soreness in his right calf, head coach Frank Vogel seemed upbeat about his chances of returning sooner rather than later.

"We just did some drill work, no-contact drill work, which he did all of. He seemed fine," Vogel said.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow before making any decisions on the game."

Anthony Davis will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday due to an Achilles injury.

NBA champions the Lakers listed star Davis as out with tendonosis of his right Achilles tendon.

Davis, coming off a championship-winning season with the Lakers, posted 30 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the team's 135-129 double-overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

The 27-year-old is averaging 22.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Lakers this season.

The Lakers (18-6) - in the midst of a four-game winning streak - are second in the Western Conference, behind the in-form Utah Jazz (19-5).

LeBron James is delighted to see fans back in the building despite getting into an altercation with spectators sitting courtside during the Los Angeles Lakers' road win at the Atlanta Hawks.

ESPN reported four people were ejected by the Hawks following the incident late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 107-99 victory at State Farm Arena.

A woman later posted on social media claiming she got involved after her husband and James exchanged words. Cameras showed a woman involved in the argument with her mask pulled below her chin, something not allowed with rules in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Referees halted the game and security personnel were called over, but James looked to cool the incident when talking after the contest, which was attended by 1,341 fans.

"At the end of the day, I'm happy fans are back in the building," said James.

"I miss that interaction. I need that interaction, we as players need that interaction. I don't feel like it was warranted to be kicked out."

James, who had 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, suggested alcohol may have been an influence in the incident.

He added: "They might have had a couple drinks, maybe and they could have probably kept it going during the game, and the game wouldn't have been about the game no more, so I think the referees did what they had to do.

"I love our fans. Laker Nation and everybody else that's against Laker Nation. It just feels better.

"Fans in the stands is just, it's just better. It's better for everybody. Especially on the last game of a 14-day road trip."

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel suggested the incident perhaps exposed a problem with having fans in attendance, especially when the woman lowered her mask.

"It certainly exposed something with regard to having fans in the pandemic," Vogel said.

"You obviously can't have fans taking their masks down and shouting at our players with the virus out there during these times."

Anthony Davis concurred but like James is happy to see fans back.

"With COVID going on, we obviously can't have that [masks being pulled down]. We want to make sure we all can be safe," Davis said.

"We love having fans at the game. Whether we're home or away, it just brings back the game that we love, that joy from the fans and the support.

"Whether it's 500 people or 1,000, 1,500, whatever it is, it's always enjoyable to play in front of a crowd."

Los Angeles Lakers pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis are questionable for Monday's clash with the Atlanta Hawks.

James is listed with a left ankle sprain, while team-mate Davis has a right quadriceps contusion, according to the NBA champions.

Lakers superstar James posted 21 points in Saturday's 96-95 win over the Boston Celtics as Davis led the way with a 27-point, 14-rebound double-double.

James has been averaging 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game for the Lakers.

Davis, meanwhile, is averaging 22.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

The Lakers (15-6) sit third in the Western Conference, behind city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers (16-5) and Utah Jazz (15-5).

Anthony Davis said the Los Angeles Lakers got a "little revenge" with their 96-95 win over the Boston Celtics in the NBA on Saturday.

Davis had a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Lakers responded after back-to-back losses.

The Lakers seemingly had not forgotten their most recent visit to TD Garden, where they were thrashed by the Celtics 139-107 in January last year.

Davis said while the Lakers (15-6) wanted to return to winning ways, some revenge was also on their minds.

"Just trying to get back in the win column. We're a team that takes pride in not losing two in a row and we lost two in a row and we for damn sure wasn't losing three in a row," he told ESPN.

"We've got a little revenge with this team. They came in last year and beat us by 30 last time we were in this building so we're still replaying all the moments in our head.

"But we just want to be a team that don't get comfortable with losing and I think everybody had a great effort and we were able to get the win."

LeBron James finished with 21 points for the Lakers, who almost slumped to a third straight defeat.

The Celtics forced a turnover with seconds remaining, but Kemba Walker missed a jumper and Daniel Theis a lay-up on the buzzer.

Davis led the way for the Lakers despite going four-of-seven from the free-throw line.

"Come out and be aggressive. My team looked for me to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, on the glass, and that's what I tried to do," he said.

"Just going back to the old AD, playing with a lot of energy, letting the team feed off of me and just playing great basketball, making shots, still struggling from the line but I'm going to keep going, get fouled, going to the line.

"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, I was able to do that and help us get the win."

LeBron James said he was not fuelled by his MVP snub as he scored a season-high 34 points in a Los Angeles Lakers victory over Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks.

James also provided eight assists and claimed six rebounds in a 113-106 win for the NBA Western Conference leaders on Thursday.

Antetokounmpo, the NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year winner last season, finished with a 25-point haul but could not prevent the Bucks - third in the Eastern Conference - from slipping to 9-6.

Superstar James dismissed a suggestion he may have been out to prove a point after missing out on the MVP award last year, as the Lakers extended their franchise away record to eight consecutive wins on the road to start the season.

He told reporters: "I think you know me. I think all of you guys know me. It's never been about individual.

"It's all about the team success and that's all that matters. I can care less about that. I just try to play well and help our team win versus any opponent and that’s what it’s all about."

Lakers star Anthony Davis declared "I suck right now" after he scored 18 points, took nine rebounds, laid on six assists and came up with two blocks.

Yet James says his fellow All-Star is being too hard on himself.

"He's continuing to grow every single game. Every single film session, we kind of break those things down - what he sees on the floor," James said.

"Tonight was another example of him just seeing the other side of the floor and putting the ball on time, on target and guys knocking it down."

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