Anthony Davis Will Play in Lakers' Bubble Debut Against Clippers
Anthony Davis will play in the Lakers' bubble debut against the Clippers on Thursday at Walt Disney World near Orlando.
The Clippers will be without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Patrick Beverley, who left the NBA campus July 21 to deal with the death of a close friend and then had to quarantine upon return, will play.
Davis was poked in the right eye during a scrimmage Saturday and missed Monday's scrimmage and Tuesday's practice. He fully participated in Wednesday's practice wearing protective eye glasses.
When asked whether Davis plans on wearing glasses in Thursday's game, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wasn't sure.
"I don’t know if he’s made a final decision on that," Vogel said. "I know he’s tried them out in practice yesterday and as mentioned pregame tonight. I’m sure he’s just measuring whether he wants to wear them or not, I don’t know if there’s a final decision made."
Vogel said the Lakers' starters will be: LeBron James, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Davis and JaVale McGee. He added that he will likely play 10 or 11 players and there will be no cap on minutes for his main players, though he said he's going to make sure it's a reasonable number.
Thursday will mark the first time the Lakers play in a regular season game since March 10, a day before the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After 142 days, Vogel acknowledged the weight of the moment.
"Just excitement," he said. "We’ve got a really good team, so it was disappointing to have to stop where we were. Obviously for me, I just want to make sure that we’re able to pickup where we left off as closely as possible."
The Lakers are atop the Western Conference with a record of 49-14, 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Clippers (44-20). Vogel said this matchup against the Clippers will surely feel different than their previous three.
"Well, the first thing in comparison to those [games] for me is the crowd at those games was absolutely electric because the game is played in the same city with championship aspirations," he said. "That’s going to be missing from tonight’s contest. However, we know that this is a team that we likely are going to face at some point in the playoffs and have to beat to achieve the ultimate prize, so it does have a little of that big game feel, for sure."
Vogel wore a T-shirt that said "Black Lives Matter" during his pregame media availability. And he opened it by paying tribute to former US congressman and long-time civil rights activist John Lewis, who died July 17 at the age of 80.
"He was an American hero," Vogel said. "He taught us that non-violence peaceful protests are patriotic and good. Obviously he was a force behind the Voting Rights Act being signed into law, his example will live on forever. So, he will be missed."