Anthony Davis helps Lakers turn back Hornets in overtime

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Lakers center DeAndre Jordan dunks over Hornets center Mason Plumlee during the first half Monday night at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

This time, Anthony Davis made key plays on offense and defense and refused to let the Lakers blow a game in which they collapsed again after building a big lead.

The Lakers wasted a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night at Staples Center. The game went to overtime after Davis shot an airball on a three-point try with 1.3 seconds left in regulation and Miles Bridges also shot an airball on a long attempt as time expired.

But in the overtime, Davis made two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to give the Lakers a three-point lead and blocked a three-point try by Terry Rozier with 6.2 seconds remaining. The Hornets’ Cody Martin then missed a three-point attempt, allowing the Lakers to escape with a 126-123 victory.

The Lakers blew a 26-point lead against Oklahoma City and lost that game Oct. 27. The Lakers blew a 19-point lead against the Thunder on Thursday and lost that game too.

But with Davis producing 32 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks Monday, the Lakers ended a two-game losing streak.

“We needed a win mostly,” said Davis, who has a cold and is recovering from a stomach bug, throwing up at the end of the third quarter. “We wasn’t losing this game.”

The Lakers had control of the game with a nine-point lead, but a strange sequence allowed the Hornets to get five straight free throws with 3:39 left in the fourth.

LaMelo Ball was going to shoot two free throws after he was fouled. Then the Lakers were called for a delay of game, which led to a technical foul.

Then the Lakers’ Carmelo Anthony (29 points) and Russell Westbrook (17 points, 14 assists, 12 rebounds) both were called for technical fouls.

That led to Ball (25 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists), a former Chino Hills High star, shooting and making five consecutive free throws, pulling the momentum away from the Lakers and eventually leading to a 115-115 tie at the end of the fourth.

“Like I said, we had the game under control,” Davis said. “That whole — couple of techs, delay of game, he got fouled, hit two free throws, things like that — kind of let them get back into the game.”

Davis had gotten so sick Saturday night at Portland that he left the game after the first quarter because of a stomach illness. He had hurt his thumb against Oklahoma City on Thursday and has been dealing with that injury.

But with the Lakers so depleted with LeBron James (abdominal strain), Talen Horton-Tucker (right thumb surgery), Kendrick Nunn (right knee bone bruise) and Trevor Ariza (right ankle) all out, Davis was needed for a team that had lost two straight and was looking out of sorts on defense.

In the second half, Davis showed why the Lakers needed him so much. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks by the end of the fourth.

Anthony did big things once again off the bench, scoring 26 points through four quarters.

When Malik Monk took a pass that Anthony saved from going out of bounds after Rajon Rondo almost threw it away and hit a last-second three-pointer from near half court, the Lakers opened a 94-87 lead entering the fourth.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the team had given some consideration to starting Davis at the five and having center DeAndre Jordan come off the bench but decided against it because the Lakers lack so many bodies and he likes the idea of Anthony coming off the bench.

“There is a temptation to start tonight with AD at the five for offensive spacing reasons,” Vogel said before the game. “We’re really thin with LeBron and Trevor being out and having Carmelo have such great energy off the bench at home, I don’t want to break that rhythm. So, we would have to be super small to start AD at the five.”

By the end of the first half, the Lakers led 61-60 and Vogel had gotten what he wanted from his lineup.

Jordan started strong with 10 points and four rebounds in the first quarter.

Davis had a better second quarter, scoring 10 of his 12 first-half points. He added five rebounds, two assists and two blocks in the first half.

Anthony was strong off the bench again, dropping in 12 points in the first 24 minutes.

Westbrook had just six points in the first half on two-for-seven shooting, but he handed out nine assists.

The Lakers shot 51.2% from the field in the first half and 72.2% (13 for 18) from the free-throw line.

And the Lakers took better care of the basketball, turning it over just six times in the first half.

But after holding the Hornets to 26 points in the first quarter, the Lakers gave up 34 in the second, trimming their once eight-point lead to one at the half.

The Hornets kept the Lakers from getting away by drilling their three-pointers and because of the scoring from Ball, Gordon Hayward, Rozier and Bridges.

Ball had 14 points and seven assists at the half, Hayward 12 points, Rozier 11 and Bridges 10.

The Hornets shot 42.1% from three-point range in the first half.

Vogel said there were “no changes” and “no timetable” for James to return from an abdominal strain that has kept him out of the last three games. Vogel said James “did some shooting” Monday.

Vogel, who was under the weather himself with a cold, was excited to know that Horton-Tucker is making progress from his injury.

Tuesday will mark a month since Horton-Tucker had right thumb surgery. He has been cleared for contact Tuesday and is looking forward to the workout.

He has been working with a physical therapist.

“Mentally, I’m just trying to stay positive throughout everything,” Horton-Tucker said. “Watching basketball is hard, just the competitor in me wants to get out there and play. Just making progress, trying to play with contact tomorrow, so being able to get out there and move around and stuff with my teammates will be great again, so I’m excited.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



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