Davis scores 25 as short-handed Lakers defeat Nuggets 93-89

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Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis celebrates after the Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets 93-89 in a NBA basketball game Monday, May 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis came up with a huge game when the Los Angeles Lakers needed it the most.

Davis scored 25 points and had key plays on both ends of the floor in the final minute as the short-handed Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 93-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets Monday night.

The Lakers — who had lost six of their last seven going into the game — won without two key pieces. LeBron James did not play in the second game of a back-to-back after he ankle soreness during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss Toronto. Dennis Schröder will be out more than a week after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocol.

“I know with LeBron and Dennis out the team counts on me more. I made the effort to come out and play with pace,” Davis said. “It was good to see us play our style of basketball. We have to feed off this game.”

This was Davis' seventh game back since he missed more than two months with a strained right calf, but the first where coach Frank Vogel said that the All-Star forward has been decisive on offense and defense.

“He’s getting more and more in rhythm each game and getting his legs under him. He’s at his best when he’s assertive on both sides of the floor,” Vogel said.

The Lakers led by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter before the Nuggets got within 89-87 with a late rally.

Davis hit a jumper with 41.8 seconds remaining to give the Lakers a four-point lead. Nikola Jokic hit a pair of free throws to cut it in half but Talen Horton-Tucker hit a reverse layup with 15.1 seconds left to push the advantage up to 93-89.