In a return to preseason action, Anthony Davis looked his sharpest so far on Sunday night, scoring a game-high 28 points in a 124-121 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Davis was a late scratch Wednesday against Phoenix and was held out Thursday against Minnesota with lower back tightness. But returning to the starting lineup, Davis impressed as a center, going 9 for 18 including a pair of threes and a perfect 8 for 8 mark from the free throw line. He added 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a block to his stat line in just 21-and-a-half minutes.
For the Lakers to earn their first preseason win since 2020, others needed to step up off the bench. Kendrick Nunn had another strong offensive performance with 21 points on 8 for 13 shooting (including four 3-pointers), while training camp addition Matt Ryan scored 20 points going 6 for 9 from deep.
The defense struggled to keep the Warriors away from the basket: Golden State shot 59 percent inside the 3-point line. In his first preseason game since a practice punch from teammate Draymond Green, Jordan Poole led the Warriors with 25 points; Steph Curry added 24 points.
None of the stars were on the floor in the final minutes as the Lakers closed out the game thanks to Ryan and rookie Scotty Pippen Jr. Ryan clinched the game with a pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds.
“I just needed to keep shooting, and one of these games it was gonna click for me,” he said. “Obviously things change very quickly in the NBA, so for a player in my position, just staying ready for the opportunity.”
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The Lakers played without LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley. Coach Darvin Ham said the Lakers were sticking with their plan they assembled before the preseason to ramp up their veterans while also keeping them healthy. The Lakers have two more preseason games: Wednesday at home against Minnesota, and Friday at Sacramento.
Troy Brown Jr. to miss start of season
The Lakers have been playing it safe with Troy Brown Jr., one of their free agent additions who should bolster their wing depth with defense. Ham acknowledged Sunday that Brown, who has yet to play in the preseason with a back injury, won’t play in the preseason at all – and should miss the start of the regular season, too.
“This is just a plan that was put in place way beforehand,” Ham said. “Even though a guy is able to go through an individual workout doesn’t mean he’s quite capable of playing versus contact or in a real NBA game as well. Again, he’s right on schedule with what he’s supposed to be doing.”
Ham added that he thought Brown was “having a great summer” before he was hurt prior to training camp. Brown averaged 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls last season.