The Indiana Pacers were able to take advantage of the Los Angeles Lakers missing big man Anthony Davis on Tuesday night.
As Davis sat out due to a recent ankle injury, it allowed Indiana to remain competitive enough and barely outrebound Los Angeles. That eventually translated to a 105-102 win over the league’s best team record-wise.
LeBron, Howard lead Lakers as Davis’ absence noticeable
Superstar LeBron James did his best to will the Lakers to victory behind 20 points, nine assists, and nine rebounds. However, he was 0-for-6 on three-point shot attempts and committed five turnovers.
Dwight Howard also pitched in with 20 points and six boards off the bench. Other bench contributions came from Avery Bradley with 13 points and Alex Caruso with 11.
Davis’ presence was clearly missed, though, as he leads the team in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. One indicator was the Pacers managed to outrebound the Lakers 43-42. It also gave the Lakers less of a defensive presence and scorer against an Indiana team that exposed those areas.
Evidence that there was less intimidation in the paint came in the final 36.4 seconds. Malcolm Brogdon was able to drive by Howard and hit a reverse layup to break a late-game tie.
Brogdon for the win ? pic.twitter.com/YdsBc4XsX3
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 18, 2019
That ultimately helped seal the Lakers’ fate. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 26 points and 10 rebounds as they shut down the Lakers’ road winning-streak at 14.
That dropped the Lakers to just 24-4 but put a spotlight on how much Anthony Davis may mean to this team. He was instrumental in the team’s recent road victory over one of the East’s top three teams, the Miami Heat.
What’s Anthony Davis’ injury status?
Thursday night brings a huge road game versus the Eastern Conference’s best squad, Milwaukee. It could be an early measuring stick for how good the Los Angeles Lakers are, but will they have Anthony Davis?
Ahead of Davis being ruled out for Tuesday’s game, head coach Frank Vogel called AD’s ankle sprain “mild.” The injury didn’t require an MRI for further evaluation, so that’s a good sign long-term.
Frank Vogel applauds his shorthanded #Lakers for giving themselves an opportunity to win against a good Pacers team.
He highlights some of the bright spots with @LakersReporter. pic.twitter.com/vrSmtNkOM2
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 18, 2019
Vogel was asked if there was a possibility that Davis plays on Thursday, and he said there is. The Lakers have Davis listed as “day-to-day” right now. His status for the game is likely to arrive as the matchup gets closer since the team will be monitoring his improvement. Jared Dudley got his first Lakers start in Davis’ absence.
So far this season, Davis has missed two games. He’s been able to play most of the schedule, but one has to wonder if an injury to Davis would upend any chances of playoff success for the Lakers.
? the NBA standings after Tuesday night's action! pic.twitter.com/YhmWtlvjqW
— NBA (@NBA) December 18, 2019
The Los Angeles Lakers visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Both teams are 24-4, tied for the best overall record in the league.