Monday, March 1

Without Anthony Davis, Lakers visit Timberwolves

The Los Angeles Lakers ‘worst fears were eased Monday when Anthony Davis’ MRI revealed no ruptured right Achilles tendon, but they will miss him for perhaps a month when they return to the court Tuesday night in Minneapolis to face to the Timberwolves.

Davis, a seven-time All-Star, re-injured his right Achilles tendon during Sunday’s 122-105 loss at Denver. The loss snapped Los Angeles’ seven-game winning streak.

Davis underwent an MRI on Monday in Minneapolis that revealed a calf strain and an enlarged right Achilles tendon. Davis is expected to get another evaluation upon his return to Los Angeles, but he is not expected to return to the Lakers lineup until after the All-Star break that ends March 10.

“I’ve been dealing with my entire career, just the injury virus,” Davis said after the game. “Something minor, okay. I’ll go out there and play. But this injury is a little different because he’s an Achilles.”

Davis, who missed two games last week, had returned Friday against the Grizzlies and finished with 35 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes. Davis scored 15 points and grabbed four rebounds in 14 minutes before exiting the game on Sunday.

“It felt great to come back the first time against Memphis, and I’ll do the same, the same steps to get back to doing it right,” Davis said. “Obviously, be a little smarter with him, like he was smart the first time, but even smarter. Improve the treatment more, instead of three times a day, maybe five times a day, just to try to get back to you have to do it and help the team. “

Now the Lakers will try to find ways to offset their averages of 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 32.8 minutes (23 games) this season.

Davis’ absence once again moves Kyle Kuzma to a starting role and probably more minutes for Montrezl Harrell as well. Kuzma has averaged 14.3 points in six starts so far this season. Harrell is averaging 13.2 points in 24.8 minutes per game off the bench and scored 21 and 20 points in the two wins over OKC last week that Davis missed.

Kuzma finished with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and had eight rebounds against Denver. He faces a tough showdown against tough Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns, whose 20 points and 11 rebounds helped the Timberwolves snap a four-game losing streak Sunday against the Raptors.

In the three games since Towns returned from a 13-game absence following a positive COVID-19 test, he is averaging 21 points and 9.7 rebounds and shooting 56.8 percent.

Minnesota is 3-4 with Towns in their lineup and 4-16 without him.

“Playing KAT is easier because when he gets the ball, I can cut it and things like that,” Malik Beasley said recently. “Where if he’s not in the game, or D-Lo isn’t here, I have to get the ball moving. Either way, I’m happy with him on the court and ready to get some wins together.”

Beasley’s emergence as another offensive option has also been a huge asset.

Beasley, who was 6-of-10 from 3-point range and finished with 20 points Sunday, is averaging 24.6 points per game in seven games this month.

“If he’s 6 of 10 and 7 of 13 (in the previous game), we have to give him the ball more,” Towns said. “He’s opening up the field for me. I haven’t played with a shooter like that in a long time.”

Minnesota guard D’Angelo Russell (left leg pain) is out for the fourth straight game and guard Jarrett Culver (left ankle) is expected to miss his 12th straight game.

–Field level media

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