The Lakers entered Monday night on a three-game losing streak and just 1-6 in their last seven games, facing the streaking Nuggets, winners of their last five, on a back-to-back without the services of LeBron James or Dennis Schröder. It was a less than ideal spot, but also provided an opportunity to get right in a big way and move from 7th to 5th in the West with a win after Portland lost earlier in the evening in Atlanta.
On cue, L.A. found their defensive identity again and won a 93-89 slugfest with the Nuggets on the backs of a terrific performance from Anthony Davis, who had 25 points and seven rebounds in the win.
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2021
That effort was great to see for Lakers fans, who had been a bit frustrated with some uneven play from Davis since the big man returned from his Achilles/calf injury amid the L.A. losing streak. However, his effort on both ends was terrific on Monday and he capped off the win with a sensational closeout on Facu Campazzo to seal the win with a blocked three-pointer.
After blocking that three-pointer and getting a much needed win, Davis decided to proclaim to the L.A. crowd that the Lakers were, indeed, back.
We’ll find out in due time if that was a premature declaration from Davis, but for at least one night they found their defensive stride once again and limited Denver’s offense to one of their worst shooting performances of the season. Marc Gasol, whose role has been unclear since the signing of Andre Drummond, was sensational in the win and showed that, at least against matchups like Denver, he’s someone that needs to be on the floor more, no matter how much L.A.’s stars stumped for Drummond to come join them in Los Angeles.
That is a situation that remains to be fully worked out, but at least for one night the Lakers got the vibes right and were able to enjoy themselves on the basketball court, so it’s hard to fault Davis for feeling himself and the entire effort of the team after a much, much needed win.