ORLANDO – At a time when the Lakers have put a higher priority on developing young players in an otherwise lost season, Lakers coach Byron Scott suddenly flipped the script.
Scott turned to veteran reserves Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis to carry them to victory. The Lakers did not satisfy that result, a 113-105 overtime loss on Wednesday to the Milwaukee Bucks adding to a blemished 13-36 record. But both Boozer and Davis delivered. While Boozer posted a team-leading 28 points on 13-of-21 shooting, Davis became the ninth Lakers player in the past 20 years to grab 20 rebounds in a game.
Both Davis and Boozer made a compelling case to return to the starting lineup with Jordan Hill nursing a strained right hip flexor that could keep him out through the NBA All-Star break. Yet, Scott maintained things will remain status quo beginning when the Lakers (13-36) visit the Orlando Magic (15-37) on Friday at Amway Center. While third-year center Robert Sacre and rookie forward Tarik Black will start, Boozer and Davis will come off the bench.
“I like that combination and they play together,” Scott said. “There’s an argument for everything. I don’t pay a lot of attention to that. I like the way they play together. Both of them off the bench provide us with something special.”
Boozer and Davis sure did.
Boozer provided an endless highlight-reels of mid-range jumpers and open layups, sequences that spoke both to Boozer’s offensive efficiency and the team’s crisp ball movement and spacing. Davis made up for his seven points on 2-of-8 shooting by impacting the game with a career-high in rebounds and hustle plays.
“Our games are so different,” Davis said. “It meshes well. We feed off each other. He’s more of an outside player and I’m more of an inside player. We have two different games and it works well.”
But neither Boozer nor Davis expressed much concern about starting. Scott took Boozer’s starting position away 19 games into the season because of defensive issues. Davis replaced Boozer while sliding over to power forward. But in the past six games, Davis has come off the bench in favor of Sacre.
Yet, it appears Scott will lean more on Boozer and Davis to inject energy and efficiency in what could become an unstoppable two-man game off the bench.
“We play well together. The more Ed and I play together, the more we play off each other,” Boozer said. He plays above the rim. Hes’ a very underrated passer. He’s a very good player.”
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