In an effort to elevate their postseason position and establish themselves as a serious competitor, the Lakers are pleased to stand on the wide shoulders of Anthony Davis, who is currently playing like a man on a mission.
On Friday night, Davis led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 123-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring 17 of his team-high 38 points in the fourth quarter and pulling down 17 boards to help his team move ahead of the Wolves in the tight Western Conference postseason battle.
According to Lakers coach Darvin Ham, “you’ve got to have that one crucial force that’s heading the attack, and in our situation with this specific squad here in the moment it’s A.D. “We find ourselves having a lot of success when he comes out and he’s aggressive and we’re feeding him and he’s not settling and he’s putting pressure on the paint, putting pressure on the rim,” said the coach.
The Lakers (39-38) triumphed for the fifth time in six games to advance into seventh place. LeBron James added 18 points and 10 boards, and D’Angelo Russell contributed 12 points and 10 assists against his old club. They have the advantage over the Pelicans in the head-to-head match, tying them with New Orleans.
“We’re eager to not only qualify for the playoffs but also make some noise.”
Since falling to the Wolves at home on March 3, the Lakers, who began the season 2-10, have gone 9-4.
James recalled, “We hopped on A.D.’s back, and he brought us home.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 23 points for the Timberwolves (39-39), who fell to ninth place, and Mike Conley scored 25 points on 7-for-11 shooting with seven assists before bowing out. They came into the night one game behind Golden State and the cut to escape the four-team play-in playoff, with the Warriors kicking off later at home against San Antonio.
Late in the fourth quarter, Davis, who had twisted his left foot in the third quarter, scored 12 consecutive points for the Lakers, capping a tenacious return from a 13-point disadvantage shortly before intermission. He scored five consecutive goals while Timberwolves centre Rudy Gobert was on the sideline, dominating in the paint, the post, and at the hoop.
He is performing at a very good level right now, according to Timberwolves coach Chris Finch.
With their defence in shutdown mode, the Lakers seized control early in the third quarter with a 24-2 run over a 6:49 period. Conley’s turn to take a break on the sideline during that stretch was unfortunate. A breath-holding scene in which Davis twisted his left foot around the beginning of the Lakers charge only seemed to energise the guests.
Gobert said, “We began turning the ball over, and the ball started to stay much more. “We kind of lost our offensive flow, and it really hurt our defense,”
With centre Naz Reid out with a broken wrist, the Wolves’ bench was shortened. The Wolves shot 2 for 14 from beyond the arc in the third quarter, outscoring the Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov and the enthused crowd 35-18.
James, who has been recovering from a month-long layoff due to a ruptured ligament in his right foot, delivered a second victory to open this five-game road journey with this new starting group of Jarred Vanderbilt, Austin Reaves, Jarrett Russell, and Davis. Since falling to the Wolves at home on March 3, the Lakers have advanced to 9-4. Davis scored 38 points on Wednesday in the victory at Chicago.
The best I can say is that I’ll be on the roster on Sunday.
For his part, Davis claimed he played the entire game on energy and would be good to play on Sunday as well.
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