Anthony Davis returns as Lakers bounce back with win over Spurs

Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) gets wrapped up by San Antonio Spurs forward Doug McDermott.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) gets wrapped up by San Antonio Spurs forward Doug McDermott (17) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

No designer sweaters. No expensive sunglasses. No custom pants.

Wednesday, Anthony Davis was in the standard-issue purple Nike warm-ups with the team’s iconic golden jersey underneath, the wait for his on-court return about to be over.

In the seconds before he checked in, the Spurs pounded the offensive glass to steal two points.

By the time he left the floor seven minutes later, Davis had found a defensive rhythm, swatting two-straight shots to remind everyone what the Lakers had been playing without.

After missing 20 games with a bone spur, a fracture and a stress reaction all in his right foot, the Lakers got their star big man back – albeit in limited action – just in time for a crucial stretch of games.

Davis led them in scoring and rebounds, the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-104dominating the fourth quarter.

He scored 21 points in 26 minutes to go with four blocks and 12 rebounds. LeBron James nearly had a triple-double with 20 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds and Patrick Beverley scored 18.

“I thought he looked good,” Darvin Ham said after the win. “…Overall, great. A-plus.”

The Lakers begin a five-game road trip Saturday in Boston.

“I’m happy for him, first and foremost, I know how frustrating this process has been for him, especially at the level at which he was playing,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said pregame. “I’m just happy for him, and definitely happy for us. We’ll get him out there, we won’t go too crazy with his minutes of him, and see how he responds. ”

Davis took a scary-looking fall near midcourt at the end of the third-quarter, attempting to beat the buzzer. He landed awkwardly on his right foot after the shot challenge from Zach Collins. Davis got up, the play was reviewed and he made three free throws after the play was ruled a flagrant foul.

“I almost fainted,” Ham said. “…That was a huge relief.”

Coming off the bench, Davis understandably looked rusty – much different from the MVP-caliber play he had put together before getting injured on Dec. 16. His first shot came from the free-throw line, Lawrence Tanter announcing “Annnnnthony Davis” just before the the ball barely grazing the front of the rim.

The first field goal was a swished three-point shot. He added a finish near the rim, a silky turnaround jumper and a two-handed dunk before the end of the first half.

Pregame, Ham said he wanted Davis to come off the bench so he’d be available under his minutes limit at the close of the game and that he was comfortable with Davis’ healing.

Lakers' Rui Hachimura stands his ground defensively as San Antonio Spurs forward Stanley Johnson drives to the basket.

Lakers’ Rui Hachimura (28) stands his ground defensively as San Antonio Spurs forward Stanley Johnson (34) drives to the basket in the first half at Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

“Well I just think he’s gone through some rigorous therapy, weight training, weight bearing exercises, activity on the court – both individually and some group workouts. So we would save him from himself if we thought there was any type of threat or harm that he could do to himself,” Ham said. “So he had these boxes that he had to check, and he’s checked all of them. So we feel comfortable with him appearing tonight.”

Davis checked in to a big applause – some of it aimed at Rui Hachimura, who was standing right beside him.

The Lakers’ newest acquisition also came off the bench for his Lakers debut – looking as comfortable as expected despite arriving in Los Angeles on Monday night.

“We have a video playbook that he has full access to, that he’s been using, looking at. We’ve also physically, manually put him through some scripting. In particularly this morning, we went through that,” Ham said pregame. “Again, just making him try to ease into things. Not put that pressure on him that he’s got to have everything figured out from the word go.”

Hachimura hit big shots in the Lakers’ second-half run, working from the three-point line, the block and at the rim.

The Lakers, too, are headed for a small period of adjustment as they get fully healthy – Lonnie Walker IV upgraded to questionable before he was held out for two more days of rest. Austin Reaves has also begun full-speed work on his injured hamstring.

As a result of Davis and Hachimura being available, Ham didn’t use Wenyen Gabriel or Juan Toscano-Anderson in his rotation. Both players helped the Lakers got 10-10 with Davis recovering.

Thomas Bryant, who replaced Davis in the starting lineup, still started Wednesday but saw a reduction in touches and minutes.

They’re not problems – but they’re the good kind – difficult decisions that only matter once the Lakers and Davis are healthy.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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