PHOENIX – Anthony Davis had a band on his right shoulder before the game and a ribbon around his ribs at the end, but no halt prevented him from accumulating 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' victory 123-115 Phoenix Suns Tuesday.
"He wants to play," said LeBron James when asked about Davis after L.A. brought his record to 8-2 to start the season. "He wants to play and we just have to pick it up.
"For him, when he's showing that grit when he plays with injuries, it's no reason for any of us not to be out there too. He showed everything."
Davis, who played with pain in his right shoulder, shot his ribs in the first quarter, eventually retiring to the locker room between the third and fourth quarters to be registered.
The Lakers have said that X-rays on the ribs are negative again and will be re-evaluated Wednesday.
"Umm, thanks, LeBron," said Davis when he was informed of James's post-game remarks. "I just want to play. Like I said, it's hard for me to drive from the sidelines.
"The more I can do in the field to help this team win, that's what I try to do. I know what our goal is, I know what we're trying to build. So the more I can try to stay on the floor, the more steps we move towards our target ".
The Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated that Davis "is playing a lot of pain", accusing him of returning to the game with 8:41 remaining in the fourth quarter and closed things.
While James praised Davis's toughness for the media, James tapped the great Lakers man later in the locker room, pointing out that he and Rajon Rondo – who both played high school football – would shake off a blow to the ribs and remained in the game. James asked Davis if he would need pads for the next contest as the young superstar jokingly shook his head during scolding.
THERE. plays the second leg of Wednesday against home against the Golden State Warriors.
Davis would not confirm if he would adapt.
"We'll see how the shoulder injuries and ribs will feel tomorrow when I get up," said Davis. "And we'll go from there."
The Lakers center Dwight Howard, which continued its strong start into the campaign with 12 points in 6-for-9 and nine rebounds from the bench, kept Davis's general picture in mind.
"I don't think he should focus on hammering and grinding so much right now," Howard said. "We do all the dirty work, we keep his body healthy and things like that, and we get to the moment of the playoffs, it's time to go. So we want to make sure we keep it cool."
If Davis were to be fought against the Warriors, L.A. he could be in a better position than, say, a week ago, to manage his absence, given that Kyle Kuzma showed signs of rounding to return to Phoenix.
Kuzma scored eight of his 23 points in the fourth quarter – including 3 consecutive points in three minutes to increase the Lakers' lead from one to seven – in his most complete effort since returning from a left ankle injury that has him caused to lose the first four games of the season.
Vogel said before Tuesday's game that the plan would be to play James in both back-to-back games. James told ESPN last week that he planned to play throughout the season as long as he was in good health, rejecting the premise of cargo management in his 17th season.
Rondo, who made his season debut against the suns and chipped in five points, seven assists and six rebounds in 14 minutes, has not yet been medically authorized to participate in back-to-back, so he will be forced to sit against the Golden State.
"If [Kuzma] can recover and pass another fantastic evening tomorrow night, it would be huge," Vogel said. "I don't know what the status of those kids will be, but of course if this was the first or second Kuzma game, we would have a lot more to worry about."