The Lakers gushed over Ed Davis’ endless energy. The Staples Center crowd marveled at his blocks that he spiked powerfully away from the basket. The potential seemed so promising that public sentiment expressed on Twitter and in message boards suggested Davis should soon take a spot in the Lakers’ starting lineup.
That finally happened, but it hardly looked pretty in the Lakers’ 101-94 loss on Sunday to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. With Lakers forward Carlos Boozer nursing a sore left shoulder, Davis posted only four points and five rebounds before fouling out in 22 minutes.
“This was more of an opportunity to play and help the team,” Davis said. “But I fouled out so I didn’t do a good job of that.”
It also didn’t help that Davis rolled his right ankle that he said happened in the third quarter after landing awkwardly following a rebound attempt. Though he eventually reentered the game, Davis quickly went back into the training room for more treatment after fouling out with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter.
“I think I should be fine,” Davis said. “I can walk right now. I’m not in a boot so that’s a good sign.”
What seems less uncertain entails how Davis could handle future starts.
Lakers coach Byron Scott stressed he hardly ever thought about making lineup changes involving Boozer and Davis. He has only left open the possibility he would change any lineup combinations between 15-20 games into the season if the losing persisted. Even if that mark approaches when the Lakers (3-11) host the Memphis Grizzlies (12-2) at Staples Center, Scott insisted he has not thought that far ahead.
Yet, with Boozer’s return date unknown, it is possible Davis will start again. For all the criticism Boozer has received for his lackluster defense, he has still averaged 13.3 points on 49 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds per game. In the previous three games before his injury, Boozer appeared more efficient with a 14.66 points per game average on a 52.5 percent clip.
“When Boozer was in the last few games, everything seemed to run pretty smoothly,” Scott said. “Ed getting in tonight, he just didn’t get in a flow.”
A development Davis blamed on entering the game with the wrong mentality.
“Coming off the bench, I can be more aggressive. I can pick up four fouls and it’s not a problem. But when you start, you have to be smart,” Davis said. “I made a couple of bone head plays. But I’ll learn from them. We’ll be fine.”