Anthony Davis scores 37, Lakers hold off Thunder 116-111
LOS ANGELES — Anthony Davis had 37 points and 14 rebounds, Dennis Schröder added 13 of his 21 points in the second half and the Los Angeles Lakers got a vital victory for their playoff hopes, 116-111 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Lonnie Walker scored 20 points in an impressive return to the rotation for the Lakers, who have won three straight to move even with Minnesota in seventh place in the Western Conference standings.
With Davis leading the way on both ends of the court, Los Angeles (37-37) also reached .500 for the first time this season after holding off the Thunder despite the injury absences of LeBron James and D'Angelo Russell.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey scored 27 points apiece for Oklahoma City, which lost for only the fourth time in 12 games down the stretch. The Thunder (36-38) dropped into a tie with Dallas for 10th in the West.
Russell sat out with a sore right hip, joining James on the sideline at an important game for the Lakers' playoff hopes. The Lakers still improved to 8-5 during James' latest injury absence, staying in the race without the NBA's career scoring leader.
Oklahoma City erased all of Los Angeles’ early 17-point lead when Gilgeous-Alexander’s jumper tied it at 102-102 with 5:25 to play. Davis responded with three points and Walker hit a tiebreaking shot with 3:50 left.
Schröder replaced Russell in the starting lineup and had another standout game, including six points in the final 3:18 while the Lakers hung on. Walker got his most significant playing time since early March in Russell’s absence, and the former starter responded with four 3-pointers.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Russell’s hip injury was “not too serious, but serious enough where we need to manage it.” Russell also missed six games with a sprained right ankle shortly after Los Angeles reacquired him at the trade deadline.
Gilgeous-Alexander played despite the Thunder being on the back end of consecutive games. The Thunder have been resting him in the second game of recent back-to-backs, but the club is serious about pursuing a playoff spot.
Davis scored 15 of the Lakers' season-high 41 points while they took a 16-point lead in an impressive first quarter.
Thunder: Aleksej Pokuševski dressed for the first time since breaking his left leg in December. The Serbian big man didn't play, but he has been playing with Oklahoma City's G League affiliate. ... Luguentz Dort scored 15 points.
Lakers: Used their 37th starting lineup in 74 games this season. ... Walker played 24 minutes in his first game action since March 15. He started 32 games this season.
Thunder: At Portland on Sunday.
Lakers: Host Chicago on Sunday.