The Lakers have gone a respectable 10-10 with Anthony Davis out, but Tuesday night was a perfect example of why they need him back. LeBron James was brilliant again scoring 46, but the Lakers’ defense isn’t near the same without Davis patrolling the paint, and the Clippers scored 77 points in the first half and ran the Lakers off their home floor 133-115.
Davis is set to make his return from a stress reaction in his foot on Wednesday against the Spurs, a story broken by Dave McMenamin of ESPN. This is also the game where just traded for Rui Hachimura is expected to make his Lakers debut.
Davis had been playing the best basketball of his career before the injury, averaging 27.4 points and 12.1 rebounds a night, but it was the 2.1 blocked shots per game and his defense that anchored the team. Davis suffering an injury felt like a dark cloud following this team through a hot streak just before he went down, Davis had missed more than half of the Lakers’ games due to injuries the previous two seasons.
This game also will see the debut in Lakers’ colors of Hachimura. He was a solid rotation player off the bench for the Wizards, but he brings a size and skill set that is an upgrade to the Lakers’ rotation. Hachimura averaged 12.4 points per game this season in Washington and has shown to be a good catch-and-shoot player from 3 as well as a decent team defender. Hachimura is not the game-changer Davis is, but he’s an upgrade to the Lakers’ frontcourt rotation.
The Lakers picked a soft landing spot for the Davis return and Hachimura debut in facing the San Antonio Spurs, the team with the fourth worst record in the league and having gone 2-8 in their last 10.
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Anthony Davis set to return to Lakers Wednesday, Hachimura to debut as well originally appeared on NBCSports.com