Anthony Davis not looking to run from off night but change it in Game 4

Anthony Davis
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There is no escaping a bad night in the bubble.

No going out for a good time. No getting away from the teammates a player feels he let down.

There is only time to ponder it and think about how to correct it.

That’s OK with Anthony Davis.

“I know it’s always beneficial to get away and kind of forget about it, but when you’re here, you have to embrace that,” Davis said Monday.

“You can’t really run from it.”

Anthony Davis had only 15 points in Game 3, 18 fewer than he averaged in the first two games. He was foul-prone early and puzzlingly passive late in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 115-104 loss that cut their lead over the Miami Heat to 2-1.

The forward/center had been perhaps the dominant player in the first two games of the finals and there was no reason to think that wouldn’t continue against an undermanned opponent that was missing its best defensive option against him.

But despite Bam Adebayo‘s absence and nobody else on the Heat roster who should be able to contain him, the 6-foot-10 Davis took only nine shots and had as many turnovers (five) as rebounds.

Los Angeles was outscored by a whopping 26 points when Davis was in the game.

“It sucks just because you know if you play well and had done your job, then you possibly could have won the game,” Davis said.

Game 4 is Tuesday. The Lakers followed their three previous postseason losses by winning the remaining games in each series, and Davis averaged 33 points in the games immediately following those defeats.

LeBron James expects a similar recovery Tuesday.

“I expect him to be AD,” James said.

James didn’t need to say much more to outsiders, because Anthony Davis comes and gets the answers directly from him. He explained that he liked talking to teammates and coaches, who will tell him what improvements are necessary to avoid another poor performance.

Davis largely ignores everyone else.

“The good thing for me, I’m not a big social media guy, so I have it but I don’t really be on it,” he said. “I’m very disciplined to not, especially after nights like last night. A lot of people get caught up in the news and the social media and what everybody is saying. But I don’t really care about it too much.”

Davis’ first-quarter stats in Game 3 would be bad for the last man on the bench in garbage time, let alone a perennial All-Star. He had no shots, four turnovers and two fouls in nearly eight minutes. The Lakers were outscored by 13 points while he was in the game.

It appeared Davis had played his way into a rhythm in the third quarter. He picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes into the period, but coach Frank Vogel left him on the floor rather than sit him down again. Davis went on to play the whole quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

But then he was scoreless in the fourth, taking only one shot and grabbing one rebound in 10 minutes.

He explained that his early fouls had hindered his aggressiveness. After grabbing eight offensive rebounds in Game 2, when he scored on three straight follow shots in the third quarter, Davis had only three on Sunday as he tried to avoid picking up a foul for jumping over an opponent’s back.

Still, there were other ways the defensive player of the year runner-up should have been able to impact the game and lessen the workload on James.

He is glad that he doesn’t have to wait long for another chance.

“You look forward to it,” Davis said. “You want to go out there and play well. You want to go out there and help your team win.”

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.