WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Davis dazzled so much, he heard fans chanting “MVP!” And that came while playing on the road.
Davis scored 55 points on sizzling 22-of-30 shooting and added 17 rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Lakers over the Washington Wizards 130-119 Sunday night.
After scoring 44 points against Milwaukee in his previous game, Davis came close to his career-high of 59 against Detroit in 2016. He’s averaging 35.3 points in his last nine games.
“Coming off a huge win in Milwaukee, can’t get complacent, get comfortable,” Davis said.
Davis was 2 of 3 on 3-pointers and made all nine of his foul shots. He scored 31 points in the second half.
LeBron James had 29 points as the Lakers won their fourth straight road game. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games while trying to extricate themselves from a 2-10 start.
“Our team is locked in right now,” Davis said. “Very focused on both sides of the ball. Overall, we’re just trying to make up ground.”
Washington lost leading scorer and three-time All-Star Bradley Beal to a hamstring strain with 8:31 to play in the first quarter. Beal sat on the bench after an early substitution, talked with a trainer, then went to the locker room. He did not return and is day-to-day.
Los Angeles led by 21 points in the first half. It was 85-56 early in the third quarter before the Wizards rallied within nine points in the fourth.
The 6-foot-10 Davis presented a rare match in wingspan for 7-3 Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis. Both have 7–foot-6 wingspans.
But Davis’ mobility and scoring from every level on the floor helped him control the matchup Sunday. Porzingis shot 11 of 25 for 27 points.
“When you talk about people in MVP race or category, (Davis) should be up there for sure,” Lakers point guard Patrick Beverley said.
The Wizards were 5-for-25 from behind the 3-point line in the first half. Three of those five makes came from backup shooting guard Corey Kispert, who finished with 16 points.
Former Laker Kyle Kuzma added 26 points for Washington before he fouled out.
The Lakers travel to face Cleveland next. James, an Akron, Ohio native and former Cleveland star, said he will have a lot of friends and family at the game. But he’s more focused on the Lakers’ resurgence.
“We never tipped over the glass when things weren’t going well,” James said. “We just continued to work. Continued to get better. Understood that we’re a new team being put together. New coaching staff, new system. We had to figure out some things. We haven’t done anything. We want to continue to work.”
Lakers: James (ankle) was listed as questionable about 90 minutes before the game began, but was in the starting lineup. … Lakers coach Darvin Ham spent the 1998 season playing for the Wizards. His biggest memory from his lone season in Washington was the team finished 42-40 but missed the playoffs by a game. “I wish we had the play-in system back then,” Ham said.
Wizards: PG Delon Wright (hamstring) has “ramped up” his individual work, according to coach Wes Unseld Jr. Unseld said he expects Wright to participate in 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 during the Wizards’ upcoming West Coast trip. Wright has not played since Oct. 25. … F Rui Hachimura (ankle) is still experiencing soreness. Unseld said they will not rush him back.