Jack Dempsey/Associated Press
Anthony Davis has seemingly dealt with minor setbacks throughout his entire NBA career, and Kyle Kuzma can’t seem to shake the injury bug this season.
Fortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, though, they’re both dealing with the discomfort and staying available to play.
In Tuesday’s win over the Denver Nuggets, Davis (flu) and Kuzma (ankle) logged a combined 56 minutes. Davis had a larger role, as you’d expect, but they helped the Lakers earn a 105-96 victory against the third-best team in the Western Conference.
Davis started slowly and didn’t score in the first quarter, but he still provided 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting with 10 rebounds.
“Just tried to fight,” he said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Do whatever I can to help the team win. I felt like I could give it a go, and I was able to contribute as much as I can and get the win.”
Davis also played excellent defense on Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who mustered a 4-of-12 shooting line with 13 points and five turnovers.
In the closing minutes, Davis blocked one of Jokic’s attempts and contested another. For good measure, Davis made a layup difficult on Jamal Murray and protected a six-point lead.
According to Goon, the Lakers expect to have everyone available Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. So, barring a late change, both Davis and Kuzma will be on the floor again.
Maybe a homecoming will do the slumping Kuzma some good.
The third-year forward spent three seasons at Utah and earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors his final year. The Lakers then used a 2017 first-round selection on Kuzma, who has since developed into an important complementary piece in the rotation.
But he’s unquestionably struggling right now, and it’s partially a product of a left ankle injury.
“He’s good enough to play on it, but it definitely is sore,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before Tuesday’s game, according to Kyle Frederickson of the Denver Post.
Kuzma managed six points in 19 minutes, adding five rebounds and two assists with three turnovers.
Including that forgettable night, he’s mustered just 16 points on 5-of-21 shooting in 57 minutes over the last three games. Kuzma at least made a greater impact as a rebounder Tuesday, but the Lakers need more production from him.
Should his struggles continue, Kuzma might see a change in his role. But as long as Los Angeles keeps winning, it’s sensible for his involvement to remain consistent.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR