Despite requiring an IV during halftime, Anthony Davis overcame the flu bug and turned in a remarkable performance on both ends of the court for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 105-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets (13-5). The Lakers (18-3) are now tied with the Milwaukee Bucks (18-3) for best record in the NBA, but the Lakers improved to 9-1 on the road for the best away record in the league.
Several members of the Lakers, including Davis, battled the flu in the lead up to their Tuesday night game against the Nuggets in Denver. Davis scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. LeBron James also scored 25 points, and added nine assists and six rebounds.
Davis scored 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter, and didn’t look like a man stricken with the flu. He appeared refreshed after the halftime IV.
“For him to play through illness and have that kind of performance was something special,” said Lakers coach, Frank Vogel.
Davis missed the morning shoot around and a film session to rest up. He was listed as questionable on NBA injury reports. AD’s status was a game-time decision, but he suited up to play.
“Sleep. That’s really it,” explained Davis. “Sleep and a couple of medicine things here and there. The IV at halftime was trying a way to keep going.”
Davis Flu Therapy, Containing the Joker
Nikola Jokic is in the middle of a mini-slump. He’s only averaging 15.4 points per game this season. In his previous three games, Jokic scored eight or fewer points, but he still banged on the boards with no less than 15 rebounds per game during his scoring drought.
The Lakers, specifically AD and Dwight Howard, did an excellent defensive job on Jokic. Flu or no flu, Davis dug in on the defensive end. The Nuggets’ center shot only 4-for-12 from the field, including 0-2 from three-point range, during an off night in which he scored only 13 points.
“There’s no one like the Joker, I think, that’s ever played the game,” said coach Vogel.
The Lakers boast one of the best defenses in the NBA, anchored by AD. When the Nuggets clawed back into the game in the fourth quarter, the Lakers shut the door on the comeback. The Lakers clamped down and didn’t allow the Nuggets to score any points in the final 2:23 of the game.
“They’re one of the top teams to come back from double-digit deficits in the second half,” James said. “We knew they were going to make a run. A very good team at home, and we just kept our composure.”
The Nuggets came into the game with the third-best record in the Western conference behind the Lakers and LA Clippers (16-6). They slipped to 8-3 at home in Denver. Last season, the Nuggets took advantage of Colorado’s thin air, and had the best home record in the NBA with a 34-7 clip.
The Nuggets have the best defense in the NBA, allowing only 101.9 points per game. The Lakers operate the third-best defense, allowing only 103.7 points per game. Much of that has to do with AD roaming the lane and allowing the rest of the team to play more aggressively on the perimeter.
On Deck: Jazz and Blazers
Good thing that the Lakers have the best away record in the NBA, because seven of their next eight games are on the road. The Lakers have two more games remaining on their current road trip and, hopefully, Davis kicks the flu. They play the second game of a back-to-back matchup against the Utah Jazz (12-9) on Wednesday night. On Friday, the Lakers visit Rip City to take on Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers (8-13).
12/4/19 @ Utah Jazz (12-9)
12/6/19 @ Portland Trail Blazers (8-13)
12/8/19 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (10-9)
12/11/19 @ Orlando Magic (9-11)
12/13/19 @ Miami Heat (15-5)
12/15/19 @ Atlanta Hawks (5-16)
12/17/19 @ Indiana Pacers (13-7)
12/19/19 @ Milwaukee Bucks (18-3)
The Lakers return to LA for one game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (10-9) on Sunday. Then, they hit the road for a road trip that includes five games in eight days. The Lakers will face the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Lakers improved to 3/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship according to the Mirage Casino and Sportsbook in Las Vegas. The LA Clippers are also 3/1 odds. The Denver Nuggets are now 20/1 odds to win the title.