Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis returned after a one-game absence to take on the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. After what transpired in the final seconds of the game, he probably wishes he took another day.
Davis was involved in three crucial mistakes that resulted in the Lakers losing the contest, 111-110. The first mistake came with seven seconds to play. With the Mavericks trailing by four points, Davis fouled Maxi Kleber on a 3-point attempt. Kleber hit all three free throws, making it a one-point game.
On the Lakers' next possession, Davis was fouled and sent to the free-throw line. He only made one of those shots, putting the Lakers up by two points with just six seconds to play.
Then, this happened.
— NBA (@NBA) March 18, 2023
Kleber nailed a 3-pointer with less than a second left on the clock to give the Mavericks the win. Davis' missed free throw came back to haunt him, as Kleber would have sent the game to overtime had Davis hit both free throws. To make matters worse, Davis wasn't able to get over to Kleber in time to contest the game-winning shot.
After the contest, Davis took responsibility for the loss, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
"I already came in and told them the last play was my fault," said Davis, who has taken the blame for a loss twice in the Lakers' past four games, with the other loss coming in Houston when he had to sit out because of a lingering foot injury.
It's easy to put the loss on Davis' shoulders following those three key mistakes, but he did put up strong numbers overall. Davis went 9-for-14 from the field, finishing the night with 26 points and 10 rebounds. His 26 points led the Lakers.
Los Angeles needed Davis to carry a bigger load with LeBron James sidelined with a foot injury. James missed the team's last 10 games due to the issue. James is expected to be reevaluated soon, but there are already rumors he is "not close" to a return.
The Lakers could use him. The team sits at 34-37, good for 10th in the Western Conference.