Announcement about LeBron’s remarks: “I play like my old self”

LOS ANGELES – In mid-December of last season, after Anthony Davis suffered a left knee injury that would sideline him for over a month, LeBron James immediately raised his scoring average in an effort to make up for the big man’s absence. James snapped seven straight games in which he had 30-plus points, leading 30 in 11 of 12 games overall, to keep the Los Angeles Lakers alive.

Davis is doing everything he can to give back this season.

With James missing the fourth straight game Sunday due to a strained left groin, Davis scored at least 30 for the third time in a row in Los Angeles’ 123-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

It was the Lakers’ third straight win, improving their record to 5-10, and Davis was instrumental during the streak. He averaged 35 points on 61.7% shooting overall and 91.2% shooting from the foul line along with 17.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks over the past three games.

He became just the third player in Lakers history to record at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in three consecutive games, joining Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Shaquille O’Neal.

“Obviously when he’s out, or if you’re out, we take it upon ourselves as much as we can to fill that void,” Davis told ESPN when asked about his rise in James’ absence.

While the Lakers’ big guy deliberately took on more of the load to buy James more time to recover, he didn’t specifically plan it as payback for what James did last season.

“We haven’t talked about it, but he said I play like my old self, so I’m trying to get back into that rhythm,” Davis told ESPN about James’ remarks to him.

Davis did most of his damage early on against the Spurs, tallying 18 points and five rebounds in the first quarter — the most he’s scored in any quarter all season — as Los Angeles built up a 14-point lead that would eventually swell to a larger possible number. Like 34.

“AM is playing out of his mind,” said Lakers coach Darvin Hamm. “He’s in a great rhythm.”

Improved play remains the Lakers are only 13th in the Western Conference and two-and-a-half games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the final postseason play-off spot.

Of course, there are plenty of games left to make up, but the schedule isn’t about to do LA any favors. The Lakers go on the road to take on the Phoenix Suns second team in the West on Tuesday. This marks the beginning of a treacherous period in which 16 of the Lakers’ 22 games are on the road between now and January 2.

“I think everyone’s confidence is very high while not getting too high,” Davis told reporters afterwards. “Going to Phoenix to start the trip is going to be a good test for us. But like I said, I think the confidence of the guys is high on both ends of the ball in that game. And we want to start the trip on the road. With W and then, San Antonio back-to-back. So, it’s good to get three straight. Now we just have to carry it down the road and get more wins.”

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