LeBron James: Anthony Davis Was 'the Best Player in the League' During My Absence

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2022

LeBron James and Anthony Davis
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

LeBron James returned from a five-game absence for Friday night's win over the San Antonio Spurs, and he praised teammate Anthony Davis for his MVP-level performance while he was recovering from a groin injury.

"AD was the best player in the league over the last four-to-five games," James told reporters. "Just his numbers and productivity on both sides of the floor. It's not just offensively but defensively he's been super engaged, and tonight once again he was amazing."

James and Davis combined for 46 points in the Lakers' 105-94 victory over the Spurs, which was the team's fourth win in the past five games and improved its record to 6-11.

AD was asked to carry the load for L.A. while LeBron was out of the lineup, and he responded with one of the best five-game stretches of his career.

The eight-time All-Star averaged 33.2 points, 17.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals while shooting 59.6 percent from the field in those games.

His strong play continued Friday despite James' return, which is a great sign for the Lakers. He tallied 25 points, 15 boards, four assists, three blocks and a steal while knocking down 10 of his 13 shots from the field (76.9 percent).

"His voice, leadership, his playmaking, scoring ability—I think it all came into effect tonight," Davis said about LeBron. "Especially down the stretch, pick-and-roll and calling plays and stuff. I think it was really good for us."

In the bigger picture, the Lakers are finally starting to show some signs of life after a dreadful 2-10 start to the campaign.

The roster still has key holes, led by outside shooting and a reliable post presence to take some pressure off Davis, but having their two cornerstone players healthy at the same time is a great sign. Now the question is whether they can both stay healthy for an extended period.

If they do, L.A. will have a chance to start climbing the standings in the Western Conference, which may be the sign the front office needs to make a few moves to upgrade the roster.

It's still a long road back to contention for the Lakers, but Davis playing at such an elite level gives them a chance every night regardless of the opponent.