Anthony Davis injury overshadows LeBron James' 40 points in loss to Warriors

LeBron James sat in front of his locker after a generic Lakers game this season when the prospect of his team surviving without Anthony Davis was mentioned.

James, moving as quickly as he has all season, said the obvious.

“No chance.”

So even as James did his best, gritting through fatigue to barrel down the court through the Golden State Warriors’ defense Saturday night, the most important parts of the game were happening in the locker room.

Late in the first quarter, Davis drove to the basket and scored on rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, who swiped at the ball and caught Davis in the left eye.

Davis then had difficulty keeping his injured eye open, and after the first quarter, he went to the locker room and never returned to the game.

James was right — the six-point lead the Lakers built with Davis quickly became a deficit before ultimately becoming a 128-121 loss at Arena. James scored 40 points on 15-for-23 shooting with eight rebounds and nine assists, but it wasn’t enough. Davis scored eight points in 12 minutes.

Minus a miracle win in Boston without Davis or James in the lineup, the Lakers (36-32) have lost by a combined 64 points in the three games Davis has sat out this season.

While the issues without their defensive anchor were obvious — the flow of the fourth quarter became a story in itself for the Lakers.

Three points came off the board during a Lakers’ challenge, allowing replay officials to see that a made corner three-pointer by James didn’t count because he was out of bounds.

That stoppage was one of a handful of fourth-quarter clock issues that began with the Warriors receiving four extra seconds on one possession when the shot clock mysteriously reset to 24 after 14 seconds had expired.

Then, after the Lakers won an out-of-bounds challenge, timing officials struggled to get the game restarted — more than 15 minutes of real time expiring before the game could resume.

After one stoppage, James slammed the ball down in frustration. After another, he tossed it up toward the scoreboard.

Eventually the game restarted with the time on the shot clock not matching the actual time — the Lakers turning the ball over before the Warriors (35-31) sealed the game with a dunk.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points, Klay Thompson had 26 and Draymond Green dished out 13 assists.

The Lakers struggled on defense early, James and the team failing to contest open looks for Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins. Late in the game, without backline help, Curry and Green slipped behind a defense that was selling out to keep the Warriors off the three-point line.

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