Davis sustained a bruised right calf in the first quarter of Friday night’s game against Memphis, but returned to play and was a force.
Davis was seen limping around the locker room after finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds in the game. He was seen working on his shots after practice Saturday.
“[He’s] a little bit sore, but he should be good to go tomorrow,” Vogel said. “All we did is walk through Boston. We didn’t have a formal practice. He was walking around. He should be good to go.”
After Davis returned to the court against Memphis, he dominated.
His seven blocked shots led the Lakers to once again proclaim that Davis should be the NBA’s defensive player of the year.
“His play is clearly enough, but if I’m asked the question, I’m gonna absolutely support [him],” Vogel said of the award. “It’s not anything where I’m trying to lobby for him or anything like that. It’s just clear to see, and if I’m asked about it, they’re gonna know my opinion on it, because you can see a guy on television or from a distance and say, ‘Well, he looks the part and everything, but you got a coach that preaches defense that’s around it every day.’ I mean, people don’t understand how good he is on that end of the floor, how versatile he is.”
Davis is ranked third in the league in blocked shots, averaging 2.47 per game.
“He does everything,” LeBron James said Friday night. “He’s able to protect the rim. He’s able to guard in the post. He’s able to switch out to guards. He’s able to block shots when guys are shooting floaters and runners. Get steals. I mean, he does everything defensively for us. That’s why he’s defensive player of the year. He just does everything for us. It’s not one thing he doesn’t do well defensively.”
Caruso shows his value
The Lakers coaching staff is looking for ways to get Alex Caruso on the court more moving forward.
Caruso is playing 18.3 minutes per game and has demonstrated his value to the team. His ability to play point guard, shooting guard and small forward, and to shoot and defend, leaves the Lakers no choice but to increase his playing time.
His plus-4.3 rating in the plus-minus department is fourth on the Lakers behind James (plus-8.5), Danny Green (plus-5.3) and Davis (plus-4.8).
Caruso is averaging 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists while making 36.5% of his three-pointers.
“I don’t know about validation, because validation is kind of an odd thing, you know?” Caruso said in response to a question on the subject. “Like who you think is actually validating yourself? But as far as just rewarding, reaping the benefits of the hard work I put in, I’d definitely say that. From the jump, from the start of my career, it’s what I’ve always done, just been about the work, been about every day just being present and getting after it, and it’s paid off and it’s just continuing to pay dividends for me.”
Teams expressed interest at the trade deadline in acquiring Caruso, but the Lakers were not willing to move him.
“I mean, that kind of goes back to the validation question as far as just like at the beginning of my career, I always thought I could play in the NBA. I always thought I wanted to play in the NBA,” Caruso said. “It might have just been other people’s opinions or outside views that just didn’t see what I see or didn’t agree for whatever reason or whatever it is, the landscape of how potential is scouted. For me it’s not really a rapid ascension. It’s just kind of putting in the work and buying my time until it was time for me to be ready…Like you said, teams are interested, which means that I’m finally ready and I’m showing that I’m capable.”
Up next for Lakers: vs. Boston
When: 12:30 p.m., Sunday.
On the air: TV: ABC; Radio: 710, 1330.
Update: The Celtics have won nine of their last 10 games. Boston’s 39-16 record in third best in the Eastern Conference. They defeated the Lakers by 32 points the last time the teams played in January. Boston All-Star forward Jayson Tatum leads the team in scoring at 22.5 points per game.