Anthony Davis scores 34, and Talen Horton-Tucker’s return helps Lakers beat Spurs

Lakers forward Anthony Davis drives past Spurs guard Derrick White.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis drives past Spurs guard Derrick White for a layup Sunday at Staples Center.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

The Lakers are starting to become whole again, day by day and game by game.

LeBron James is not back yet, but the Lakers forward is making progress with his abdominal strain that kept him out of his sixth straight game on Sunday afternoon.

Talen Horton-Tucker was back for the Lakers, his first game of the season after having right thumb surgery. Horton-Tucker was in the starting lineup along with super-sub Carmelo Anthony as Lakers coach Frank Vogel decided to make changes to his first unit.


One of the constants with the starters has been Anthony Davis, and the All-Star forward was driven to play at a high level and be the unquestioned leader during his team’s 114-106 win over the San Antonio Spurs before 18,997 at Staples Center.

He was a force from the start, scoring 19 points in the first quarter, and was dominant throughout, finishing with 34 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, including two in the decisive fourth quarter. He had two steals, blocked a shot and committed one turnover.

Davis’ big highlight came in the first quarter, when he had the ball with a defender all over him. So, Davis threw the ball off the backboard with his left hand and rebounded it for a dunk.

Anthony Davis was serenaded to chants of MVP in a 34-point, 15-rebound game as the Lakers defeated San Antonio. It’s the kind of effort they need.

His primary thoughts are seeing the Lakers get healthy and what that could mean for this team.

“We’re starting to get our guys back and we want to make a run,” Davis said. “We want to go on a nice little winning streak and be the team that we know that we can be. But it starts with our defense. I feel like we had moments where we were like the old Lakers where we mess up and break down our coverages. But for the most part we looked really good.”

Considering Horton-Tucker missed the first 13 games while recovering from thumb surgery, he was impressive in his debut. He had 17 points that included a driving layup to push the Lakers’ lead to 107-103 with 2 minutes 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter. He also had four rebounds and one blocked shot.

“They were telling me if I felt like I was gonna re-injure my thumb or if I felt any way like that, I shouldn’t play,” Horton-Tucker said. “So, I wasn’t really thinking about my thumb when I was out there. I was just trying to play. I was trying to block shots with my right hand, just doing everything, so just being able to just play with a free mind and not worry about that was great.”

With the Lakers playing small-ball — sitting center DeAndre Jordan for the second straight game as well as struggling wing Kent Bazemore — Horton-Tucker’s role figures to increase.

Whether that means being a starter has yet to be determined.

“We’ll see,” Vogel said. “He’s going to be a big part of what we do, though. We know that. We invested in him this summer for a reason. We have a strong belief in that young man and what he can do on both sides of the ball. Obviously when we get whole, we got a lot of good choices, but he’s going to be a big part of it.”

In his first start of the season, Anthony had 15 points that included a three-pointer off a pass from Davis to push the lead to 110-103.

Russell Westbrook added 14 points that included a layup off a pass from Davis that pushed the lead to 112-103 with 1:18 left. Westbrook had 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He still was careless with the ball, however, committing seven turnovers.

Though James remains “day to day,” Vogel said “hopefully we’ll be getting LeBron back soon.”

“He hasn’t done a full practice or contact yet,” Vogel said, “but he’s looking good, moving around in his court work.”



When: 7:30 p.m., Monday

On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330

Update: The Lakers complete a five-game homestand in a back-to-back game for both teams. The Bulls played Sunday night against the Clippers. Former Laker and fan favorite Alex Caruso leads the Bulls in steals. Chicago has four players averaging double figures, led by Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, but will be without two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic (health protocols), who is averaging 13.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists.