Darvin Ham seems to completely contradict himself as he says Anthony Davis’ absence vs. OKC Thunder was planned

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham appeared to contradict himself when he revealed that it was planned for Anthony Davis to sit out Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Feb. 23, Ham had said that he expects every Lakers player to play the rest of the season, including back-to-backs, barring injury.

It’s curious that the Lakers would decide to sit Davis in this game, especially since LeBron James (foot) and D’Angelo Russell (ankle) are out of the lineup with injuries.

Davis dealt with a stress injury in his foot earlier in the season, so the Lakers may be trying to play things safe with the star big man. However, it could end up costing them a crucial game in the Western Conference playoff race.

It will be interesting to see if Ham and the Lakers have any more planned absences for Davis as the season goes on.

The bright side for Los Angeles is that Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander won’t play in this game after being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols.

Still, Los Angeles is facing an uphill battle on the road on Wednesday with three of its best players sitting out.

With James out of the lineup for at least two weeks, Davis is going to be called upon to carry the scoring load and lead the Lakers in the stretch run of the 2022-23 season. The eight-time All-Star is having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 25.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 56.1 percent from the field.

Since he and James will miss Wednesday’s game, Los Angeles will likely rely on Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel and Mo Bamba to pick up the slack down low.

The Lakers currently hold the No. 12 spot in the Western Conference and are one game out of the No. 10 seed. They are behind the Portland Trail Blazers (No. 11) who are just a half-game behind the No. 10 spot.

Oklahoma City is also in contention for the play-in tournament sitting 1.5 games back of the No. 10 seed in 13th in the Western Conference.

This is a huge game for the Lakers, so the team is hoping that its role players can step up and get them a win tonight.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.