Anthony Davis returns from 20-game absence, Hachimura makes Lakers’ debut

Anthony Davis, who missed 20 games with a right foot injury, has 21 points with 12 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Los Angeles (dpa) – LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are beginning to regain key elements of their roster as he strives to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Anthony Davis scored 21 points on his return from a right foot injury and Rui Hachimura added 12 on his Lakers debut as they recovered from a tough loss to beat the San Antonio Spurs 113-104 on Wednesday night.

Davis and Hachimura both came off the bench at 4:22 in the first quarter.

“We’ve all been thinking about how to mix and match. We just wanted to bring in guys,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham. “When AD came back and Rui was new, we had to overcome some problems. As we settled into the game, the guys had different runs.”

Davis, who missed 20 games due to a stress injury he picked up in the first half of a game on Dec. 16 in Denver, came on at 4:22 in the first quarter. He was 7 of 15 from the field and also had 12 rebounds in 26 minutes for his 19th double-double in 26 games this season.

Anthony Davis scores 21 points with 12 rebounds off the bench on his return from a right foot injury.

“He makes the game look so easy and takes the pressure off us,” Ham said of Davis. “He was really aggressive. I thought he was phenomenal.”

Davis was a little hesitant for the first few minutes back on the ground. He missed his first two shots from the floor and had a point in the first quarter but hit four of his next five and scored nine in the second quarter.

“First I tested the waters,” Davis said. “When I saw the ball go through on the second free-throw attempt (in the first quarter), I started playing and doing little things to get going.”

Davis gave fans a slight spook at Arena late in the third quarter when he went down while being fouled near midfield on a 3-point try. While Ham said he almost fainted seeing the piece, Davis quickly jumped up and said he felt fine.

Hachimura, who was transferred from Washington on Monday, said he looked at some plays and defense on Wednesday morning and got a lot of feedback from coaches and players during the game. It definitely helped as the forward had six points during a run in the fourth quarter when the Lakers took control.

“It was just one game, but I think it’s going to be great,” said Hachimura.

James – who had 46 points in Tuesday night’s Lakers 133-115 loss to the Clippers – had 20 points, tied for a season-high 11 assists and fell a rebound short of a triple-double.

James is just 157 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points). Los Angeles is going on a five-game road trip. The next home game is on February 7 against Oklahoma City.

The GameTime crew marvels at LeBron James’ consistency over 20 seasons as he nears the NBA’s all-time scoring record.

Patrick Beverley posted a season-high 18 as the Lakers improved to 8-5 in January.

Keldon Johnson had 25 points and Zach Collins had 16 for San Antonio, who have won just five times in 22 away games.

The Lakers trailed 85-81 early in the fourth quarter before taking control with a 22-6 run over nearly six minutes.

Los Angeles’ biggest lead would be 14 late in the quarter as it swept the four-game season streak.

“We make a lot of young mistakes,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It was a two-point game with eight minutes left and we couldn’t get a shot at that point. The effort was there. We have to work on everything that we need to support ourselves and that’s a lot of different areas. We must not get frustrated.”