NBA

Lakers to be without in-form Davis against Houston

By Sports Desk March 15, 2023

Darvin Ham confirmed the Los Angeles Lakers will not risk Anthony Davis against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Davis starred in a 123-108 win over his former team the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, scoring 35 points while adding 17 rebounds and one assist.

The 30-year-old is enjoying a strong season, with his 26.1 points per game his best average since the 2019-20 campaign – his first in Los Angeles.

Davis has also stepped up in LeBron James' absence. In the eight games Lakers' talisman has missed since February 26, Davis has played seven, scoring 30 or more points on four occasions.

The Lakers are above the play-in line in the Western Conference, but they will have to face the Rockets without Davis, who Ham explained will not be risked in back-to-back games.

"He's not going to play," Ham said of Davis, who missed a large chunk of this campaign due to a stress fracture in his right foot.

"He hasn't been cleared. Even though he's been playing pain-free, we made an organisational decision, starting with our team doctors, to hold him out of back-to-backs.

"It's just one of those things where even though he's playing pain-free, it's still an active injury.

"So we have to monitor it and stick to the plan, as we always have done. And just go out there with our other guys and try to get a W and finish the trip the right way."

With a comfortable 75-40 half-time lead over the Pelicans, Ham would have ideally liked to hand Davis a rest, yet New Orleans fought back to reduce the deficit to 13 in the final quarter.

"It definitely was a thought, but obviously, that's a hell of a ballclub over there that has a lot of pride and they made their push, so having to reinsert him into the game kind of nixed any delusions of grandeur," Ham said.

While frustrated that he will be watching on from the sidelines in Houston, Davis knows it is likely for the best.

He said: "It's tough, especially because each game you want to go out and play.

"But before I even came back, it's something the doctors and the organisation discussed that they thought it would be best for me not to play back-to-backs. 

"It's still a stress reaction, and we're doing all the right things to make sure that I'm ready to go and I still need that day break. Obviously it sucks."

Despite their win, the Lakers dropped from ninth to 10th in the West, due to the Oklahoma City Thunder's win over the Brooklyn Nets.

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