Anthony Davis suffered a bruised right calf that forced him to leave Friday night’s game against Memphis for a while, and that essentially was the biggest issue the Lakers encountered against the upstart Grizzlies.
The Lakers probably made their fans a little nervous, allowing a 25-point lead in the third quarter to be whittled down to four early in the fourth, but they recovered to pull out a 117-105 win at Staples Center in their first game following the All-Star break.
“I just felt like I was able to get back on the floor and play,” Davis said. “The leg felt good enough for me to go out and give it a try and just trying to stay loose and stay warm so it won’t tighten back up. But, just want to be on the floor to help the guys.”
As it stands, the top-seeded Lakers would meet the eighth-seeded Grizzlies in the first round if the Western Conference playoffs started today.
So, with LeBron James scoring 32 points and handing out seven assists and Davis producing 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks despite missing most of the first quarter, the Lakers sent a message to the Grizzlies about what to expect if they meet in the postseason in April.
“It’s in the back of our minds, potential matchups and whatnot,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But it really just comes down to, you let the 82-game body of work lay the groundwork for what the playoff matchup is going to look like. You just take each team individually and see what we got to do to win this game and the answer reveals itself after the fact. We’re not thinking about playoffs tonight. We’re thinking about getting more wins.”
The Lakers, who meet the Grizzlies in Memphis Feb. 29, still have 28 regular-season games left, and a lot can happen before the playoffs start. The Grizzlies have 26 games left and hold a 3½-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs for the final playoff berth in the West.
Davis left the game about a minute into the first quarter and sat on the bench in pain. A few minutes later he hobbled to the locker room with members of the Lakers’ medical staff.
He returned with 8:28 left in the second quarter but didn’t score his first field goal until there were just 2.5 seconds left in the half, converting a nice up-and-under move while being fouled.
He asserted himself in the second half, scoring 24 of his 28 points and grabbing 10 of his 13 rebounds.
“We could tell from the bench that he got kicked in the calf and it wasn’t like a soft tissue injury or anything like that, or a strain,” Vogel said. “It was just probably going to be a bruise. But you know how serious those can be. You plan on going without him just in case. But thankfully he was able to come back.”