Lakers roll as Anthony Davis steps up in LeBron James’ absence

Lakers roll as Anthony Davis steps up in LeBron James’ absence

SAN FRANCISCO — With LeBron James sidelined, Anthony Davis knew he had to do a little more — everybody had to do a little more to pick up the slack.

Davis had 23 points and six rebounds in three quarters and the Los Angeles Lakers won their seventh straight game and NBA-record 18th in a row on the road against the Western Conference, beating the injury-plagued Golden State Warriors 116-86 on Thursday night without King James.

It meant taking better care of the ball in the second half and bringing energy on both ends.

“LeBron, when he’s out, it’s taking away a lot of things that we do, so it’s on all of us to make sure we kind of fill those voids, and I think we did that tonight,” Davis said.

Rajon Rondo started in place of James and contributed 12 points and six assists as Los Angeles turned it into a rout with a 40-17 third quarter. James sat out because of recurring soreness in his troublesome left groin.

Davis shot 6 for 13, made 10 of 12 free throws and also had a pair of blocked shots and steals for the Lakers, whose 12 first-half turnovers allowed the Warriors to keep it close. Kyle Kuzma added 18 points off the bench.

Anthony Davis, who scored 23 points in three quarters, shoots a jumper during the Lakers' 116-86 win over the Warriors.
Anthony Davis, who scored 23 points in three quarters, shoots a jumper during the Lakers’ 116-86 win over the Warriors.NBAE via Getty Images

Rookie Eric Paschall scored 23 points off the bench for his 11th 20-point game and Jordan Poole had 16 in the Warriors’ eighth straight loss both overall and at home in new Chase Center. Poole limped off with 5:44 remaining in the third after rolling his right ankle then later returned after getting it re-taped — but it briefly left Golden State with eight available players, two of those on 10-day deals.

Golden State guard Ky Bowman went down with 1:11 to play and was helped off.

Golden State forward Draymond Green’s return from a two-game absence with a bruise in his right pelvic area was a short one: He was ejected 5:45 before halftime on his second technical just 11 seconds after his first at 5:56.

Golden State also missed Andrew Wiggins, a late scratch with spasms in his upper back. The Warriors hung tough early but couldn’t stay with the Lakers as they did in Los Angeles’ 125-120 win here Feb. 8.

And if it couldn’t get worse for the home team, beloved Lakers super-sub Alex Caruso drew late MVP chants as the arena quickly emptied.

This losing streak is wearing on the Warriors.

“We need to win a game,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We need to win a game once in a while to feel better about things. Right now we’re in a bad stretch. It’s tough.”

James had already been ruled out on Wednesday and coach Frank Vogel said postgame a decision on James’ status would come Saturday morning ahead of a game at Memphis that night.

“Just dealing with some soreness. We’re still two days away,” Vogel said.

James, who missed 27 games last season nursing the tender groin he hurt Christmas Day 2018 at Golden State, scored a season-high 40 points in Tuesday’s home victory against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans.

Kerr can look at James as an example of a superstar taking it up to a new level after a full offseason given the Lakers star had played in eight straight NBA Finals before last year.

Golden State has reached five Finals in a row, but not this season — so players such as Stephen Curry, Green and Klay Thompson may benefit from extended rest.

“Watching LeBron, he looks refreshed, he looks recharged. The idea of eight straight Finals in insane when you think about five here and what it’s done and how our players have felt this past year and the injuries that have hit,” Kerr said. “I do believe that when all is said and done, by next year’s training camp our guys should feel recharged and refreshed and ready to go. Hopefully that’s the case. LeBron’s also LeBron. He’s built differently than most people.”

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