LeBron James immediately felt "good vibes" with Anthony Davis at the start of the season and the Los Angeles Lakers continue to reap the rewards.

After James endured a disappointing first year in LA and missed out on the 2018-19 playoffs, the Lakers agreed a blockbuster trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Davis.

They gave up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks, but the Lakers have so far found good value in the deal.

Led by James and Davis, the team finished as the top seed in the West and have turned around their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers to lead 2-1.

Speaking after the pair combined for 67 points, 23 rebounds and 16 assists in a Game 3 victory, James said: "We definitely work well together.

"There were all these questions going into the season about whether myself and AD can work well together - I think we've shown that over the course of this season. We just try to work off one another."

Four-time MVP James revealed their close relationship was forged immediately after the trade went through as Davis travelled to LA.

"You know I'm big in energy and people. You always hear this term like 'good vibes', but I truly can sense it," James said. "It was very organic.

"There was nothing pushed or rushed or whatever the case may be, we just let it happen, let the relationship happen organically - and it's just grown over the course of this whole year.

"We're two guys who know who we are. We know who we are as human beings. We're not trying to be nobody else but our own identity, our own selves.

"And when you know yourself and when you're confident in what you do - both on and off the floor - and you know what you represent, then there's no ego. There's no ego.

"We want both of us to succeed, both on and off the floor. We want our families to be happy. We want each other to try to be as happy as possible.

"There's no ego, so when you're able to figure that out in life - who you are and what you stand for - then nothing else matters."

Asked why the pair get on so well, Davis replied with a laugh: "I don't know. It's kind of like we have no choice, to be honest.

"We're two guys who just like to have fun. We like to work. We like to win. But off the court, we've just kind of clicked.

"We're just two guys who like to have fun, two guys who are big kids and play Xbox and have game nights back in LA. Stuff like that is kind of unique."

LeBron James hailed Anthony Davis as a "unicorn" who can do things his other team-mates cannot as the Los Angeles Lakers tied up their playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Superstar James put up just 10 points on a rare off-night as the Lakers made it 1-1 in their first-round meeting at the NBA's bubble in Orlando.

Davis was in inspired form, though, contributing 31 points and 11 rebounds in the 111-88 victory, leading to big praise from James.

"I've had some great team-mates in my career," James said.

"AD is one of those unicorns [a term in basketball to describe a player who is versatile and dynamic] and he does things what some of my other great team-mates are not capable of doing.

"Tonight, AD was magnificent."

Davis scored 28 points in the opening-game defeat but said he did not feel as though he performed to his best level.

A few choice words from James, a three-time NBA champion, encouraged Davis to see the bigger picture, though.

"I was really down on myself after Game 1," Davis said. "I didn't feel like I performed to the level I needed to. And he let me have my moment and kind of get on myself, and then he talked to me and said I was fine.

"He said it's one game, and as a guy who's won multiple championships and been in these situations before, he knows what to expect. He knew what to expect from his team-mates and he kind of just was there for me to kind of encourage me and keep me level-headed. Because it was just one game.

"Our relationship has been great the entire season. I've kind of just been leaning on him this entire season, just trying to figure out the tricks [of the] trade of playing with a guy like him and a team like this.

"He kind of has been there for me and supporting me and kind of guiding me through this entire process."

The win was the Lakers' first in a playoff game since May 18, 2012, and James says a tough season off the court has proven the mettle of the team.

James said: "I mean, it started from training camp, to preseason, traveling abroad, to entering the New Year, the tragic death obviously of Kobe [Bryant] and those victims on that helicopter, to the stop of the season, to players getting injured, [Rajon] Rondo going down for a big piece of the year, to the restart, not having our brother Avery Bradley here.

"And so on and so on. I don't even know, it just feels like it's been three or four different seasons [in one], so I know what we're capable of, I know how we're built."

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is wary of NBA playoff opponents the Portland Trail Blazers as they boast the hottest player in the league in star Damian Lillard.

The top-seeded Lakers will face eighth seed the Trail Blazers in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs, starting Tuesday in Orlando.

Portland secured a date against LeBron James and the Lakers thanks to Saturday's play-in victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, with Lillard instrumental in the Trail Blazers' remarkable run to the postseason.

Lillard leads the NBA in scoring at Walt Disney World Resort since the restart with 37.6 points per game, including the play-in clash. He is also averaging 46.3 points in his past four games following a career-high 61 against the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month.

As the Lakers prepare to make their first playoff appearance since 2013, Vogel – in his maiden season with the storied franchise – praised Lillard and the Trail Blazers.

"Definitely not your typical eighth seed," Vogel said in a videoconference call on Sunday. "They've played at an elite level during this stretch in the bubble, at least offensively.

"And we've got a ton of respect for obviously Dame and CJ [McCollum] and [Jusuf] Nurkic, but really for their whole team and their whole culture. They've got a system that's been together for a number of years.

"They have the continuity piece, [Western] Conference Finals last year, so just a ton of respect for what they're bringing to the table."

Lakers star Anthony Davis also hailed Lillard, adding: "He's balling right now. He’s hot. He's doing whatever he's doing, whatever he can do to make his team win. He's carrying the load. Playing a ton of minutes.

"And so he's the head of the snake for their team. You gotta do your best to contain him and take away some of his tendencies. But they also have other guys who make plays as well.

"So they're a tough opponent, but everybody knows what level he's on and his mindset. And he's gonna go out there and do what he can to help his team win."

Meanwhile, Vogel said Rajon Rondo will clear quarantine on Monday, though there is no timetable for the Lakers guard's return.

Rondo has been sidelined with a fractured right thumb, forced to leave the Orlando bubble prior to the season resuming amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm not sure exactly when he's going to be available to be in uniform," Vogel said. "We'll get him on the court and see where he's at. But no specific timetable yet on him."

The NBA bubble has already produced plenty of storylines and the playoffs have not even started yet.  

The coronavirus pandemic forced the league to think outside the box, leading to games being played within a bio-secure one. Through careful planning and at great expense, a plan was drawn up to take the show on the road to Orlando, Florida. 

Walt Disney World is used to delivering entertainment; the resumption of the basketball season has not disappointed on that front, aided by a revised structure that offered several teams renewed hope. 

Amid great uncertainty during a global health crisis, the players and teams bought into the proposal to deliver sporting drama to an eager audience watching on from afar. 

Scoring climbed upon the resumption – the average rose by 4.3 points per game per team – while the absence of the bottom feeders, those teams too far back to contend and already focused on the next campaign and beyond, led to a slight rise in the number of close contests.  

"It's better than what we had envisioned," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. "Players have taken to it in a more spirited way than we thought they would.   

"We knew that this would require enormous sacrifice on everyone's part, but I think that what is hard to calibrate - and this maybe goes to my experience when I first came into the arena - is the human emotion that comes with being around other people. And I think everyone realised they missed it more than they even understood." 

Now the initial 22-team field is down to 16, the Portland Trail Blazers confirmed in the final playoff spot after coming through a play-in tournament, one of several changes put in place due to a shortened regular season.  

The top seeds will be the focus moving forward now, but others have claimed the spotlight during the action seen so far.

RED-HOT SUNS CATCH FIRE 

The Phoenix Suns are done for the campaign despite winning all eight seeding games, another new concept from the NBA that condensed the race to qualify in both conferences.  

They were always a long shot to make it, but that did not stop Monty Williams' roster from giving it their all to make up the gap. They ended up making unwanted history, becoming the first team to finish the season on a winning streak of eight or more games and still not make the playoffs. 

Phoenix's eight straight wins all came while scoring 110 or more points in every game, matching the longest such streak in franchise history (having also done so between November 23 and December 9 way back in 1971).  

Their average points per game increased from 112.6 to 122.3, while they were successful with 40.2 per cent of their attempts from deep. The Suns were also outstanding from the free throw line, shooting 90 per cent, not to mention on social media.

Devin Booker was a major reason for the sudden hot streak. The guard averaged 30.5 points in Florida and provided one of the more memorable moments during the seeding games, hitting a buzzer-beating game-winner to down the Los Angeles Clippers.  

Booker had 20 or more points in every outing and while they missed out on the playoffs for a 10th straight season, Phoenix's form in the sunshine state provides renewed hope for the future. 

"I just think that we have a group that wanted to come here and wanted to prove to the world that they were worthy of being here," Williams said. They certainly did that.

LILLARD BLAZES A TRAIL 

The Suns only narrowly missed out on a play-in place to the Memphis Grizzlies, who owned the tie-breaker between the pair after both finished with identical 34-39 records in a competitive Western Conference.  

Memphis had arrived in Orlando sitting in eighth but dropped down a spot due to the form of the Trail Blazers, who piggybacked Damian Lillard's hot hand to go 6-2 following the restart.  

Lillard was unsurprisingly named bubble MVP, as he finished top for points, averaging an outstanding 37.6 a game, and three-pointers, hitting 44 to finish 10 ahead of team-mate Gary Trent Jr.   

The point guard had 154 points in a three-game run at one stage, just shy of the 158 he managed during a similar span back in January. His tally of 71 successful free throws, meanwhile, put him behind only James Harden (73).  

But it was not just about the scoring for Lillard, who also averaged 9.6 assists per outing for a Blazers roster who will hope to continue their fine form when they face the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs.  

To put Lillard's performances into context, the five-time NBA All-Star is the only player since the league merger to have 150-plus points, as well as 25 or more assists, in a three-game spell – and he has done it twice this season.  

If his feats on the court were not enough, the 30-year-old has also found the time to drop three tracks on a new EP titled "Live From The Bubble". Both on and off the court, Lillard has capitalised on the opportunities presented to him during this unique campaign, one that is far from over for him and his team just yet. 

The playoffs will be different, of course. They always are. The Lakers will focus on stopping Portland's top scoring option, but without Lillard's recent efforts the Trail Blazers would surely have missed out on even getting a shot at causing an upset in the opening round.

SEEDS OF CONCERN FOR LAKERS?

And what of the Lakers, the top seeds in the West who are preparing for a first playoff appearance since 2013?  

They always had a long-term goal in mind, knowing the seeding games allowed key personnel to get enough minutes to be primed for bigger challenges ahead while still having plenty left in the tank.  

Coach Frank Vogel has also experimented with rotations with one eye on the not-too-distant future, so it is understandable that the overall numbers have dropped of late.  

Still, the Lakers ranked first in field goal percentage and fourth for effective field goal percentage when the season was halted in March -they were 19th and 21st in those respective categories in Florida.  

Indeed, the statistics where they saw numbers increase while going 3-5 was in turnovers and opposition scoring, which jumped to 113.4 points per game (instead of 106.9 earlier in the campaign).  

LeBron James and Anthony Davis also dipped in terms of production, the latter averaging 21.6 points, way down from his previous number of 26.7, in seven outings. 

The drop in output should not raise too many alarms, particularly with both stars in the conversation to be crowned overall MVP.  

Yet the Lakers will understand the unprecedented circumstances have altered the outlook for all teams still standing, particularly as home advantage no longer exists within the bubble. 

The seedings run was fun - now it is time to get serious. Those still alive will fight it out to discover who will be crowned champions at the end of a season that will never be forgotten.

LeBron James outlined the importance of Kyle Kuzma to the Los Angeles Lakers in their bid to be crowned NBA champions this year. 

Despite James and Anthony Davis being on the floor, Kuzma was the hero for the Lakers on Monday, hitting a three-pointer inside the final second that clinched a 124-121 win over the Denver Nuggets. 

Kuzma finished with 25 points and said after his game-winner: "Jesus could be in front of me and I'd probably still shoot".

Such confidence could be crucial in the coming weeks, with James making clear how the Lakers will need more than just himself and Davis to prevail in the playoffs.

"In order for us to win a championship, he [Kuzma] has to be our third best player," James told the media.

"If I'm struggling or AD is struggling, he has to be our second best player on any given night.  

"We can't win a championship if 'Kuz' doesn't play well."

The Lakers have already wrapped up the number one seed in the Western Conference, yet James insisted there is still work to do in the Orlando bubble to be ready for what is to come.

Asked during his post-game media call where, on a scale of one to 10, he ranked the Lakers in terms of being playoff ready, he replied: "I don't know, I don't think we're a 10. We shouldn't be a 10, because there is different type of preparation that goes into a playoff game.  

"You spend hours and hours on teams, because you know you're going to be locked into them for at least four games. 

"During the regular season, or throughout these eight games, you really only have a day, sometimes not even a full day, to lock in on a team and start preparing for the next one. 

"For me personally, as far as mentally, I don't feel like I'm in playoff mode. Physically, I'm getting there. I feel like I'm getting better and better, my game has improved and I'm getting more and more comfortable with the bubble. 

"As far as the mental side of it, I don't think I'm there and I'm not sure our team is – but we will be.

"It's a different type of mindset you have to be in, but you don't want to jump into it before you're actually there."

The Los Angeles Lakers clinched the Western Conference top seed as Anthony Davis erupted, while reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors extinguished the Miami Heat.

Davis led the way for the Western Conference-leading Lakers with 42 points and 12 rebounds in Orlando, Florida on Monday.

LeBron James added 22 points as the Lakers (51-15) – six games ahead of rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in the West – look forward to their first playoff appearance since 2013.

Donovan Mitchell top-scored for the Jazz (42-25) with 33 points at the Walt Disney World Resort.

As for the Raptors, they outlasted Eastern Conference rivals the Heat 107-103 thanks to Fred VanVleet.

VanVleet posted a career-high 36 points and made seven three-pointers for the Raptors, who have won back-to-back games since the league resumed behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced break.

The Raptors (48-18) are second in the East amid a six-game winning streak, while the Heat are fourth (42-25).

 

Red-hot Warren stars again, Jokic triple-double

After his career-high 53 points in his team's first game back, T.J. Warren put up 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Washington Wizards 111-100. Warren had 16 points in the third quarter to spark a 22-2 run. He was 14-for-26 from the field.

A Nikola Jokic triple-double (30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) and Michael Porter Jr's double-double (37 points, 12 rebounds) fuelled the Denver Nuggets' 121-113 overtime victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Pelicans struggle from the line

While the New Orleans Pelicans secured a much-needed 109-99 win against the Memphis Grizzlies, they made just 24-of-39 free throws. JJ Redick, a reliable free-throw shooter at 91 per cent, missed back-to-back attempts in the game.

Kendrick Nunn was 0-of-seven from the field and missed all five of his three-point attempts in the Heat's defeat. His two points came via a pair of free throws in 16 minutes of action.

 

Clutch Milton lifts 76ers

With the Philadelphia 76ers trailing 130-128, Shake Milton nailed a three-pointer 6.1 seconds from the end to help his team outlast the San Antonio Spurs 132-130.

Monday's results

Toronto Raptors 107-103 Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers 111-100 Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers 132-130 San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers 116-108 Utah Jazz
Denver Nuggets 121-113 Oklahoma City Thunder (OT)
New Orleans Pelicans 109-99 Memphis Grizzlies

 

Nets face Bucks

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (54-13) will look to bounce back from their loss to the Houston Rockets when they face the Brooklyn Nets (31-35) on Tuesday. Brooklyn occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Anthony Davis said nailing down top spot in the Western Conference was "a small milestone" for the Los Angeles Lakers after his standout performance against the Utah Jazz.

The seven-time All-Star arrived from New Orleans last year with the motivation to drive the Lakers towards championship contention.

After six years of despair at missing out on the postseason, the Lakers are firing again, with Davis and LeBron James driving them forward.

Davis scored 42 points and had 12 rebounds in a 116-108 win over the Jazz at Walt Disney World Resort, making certain of the top seed in the West.

"It's an honour for the organisation," Davis said. "We haven't made the playoffs for a long time. It's a small milestone in what we're trying to accomplish. We have a long way to go, but we're definitely going to enjoy it.

"No-one knew before the game - players-wise we never talked about it, but to do something like [securing the top seed] has been a long time coming for the Laker Nation.

"We try to be the best version of the team we can be. It's a good feeling.

"Obviously we're not done. We've still got a long way to go, but it's a good accomplishment for our organisation."

The Lakers were last NBA champions in 2010, and their most recent playoff appearance resulted in a first-round sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in 2013.

A tepid showing against the Toronto Raptors in their previous outing last week, resulting in a 107-92 defeat, had the Lakers fired up for their latest game.

"I have to play better basketball than I did to help the team win," Davis said.

"Even though I was making the right plays, I still had to be aggressive.

"I didn't like the way I performed [against Toronto] and we didn't like the way we performed as a team.

“It was a collective effort to come out and be more aggressive, shoot the ball. We shot poor last game but wanted to come out and keep shooting, knowing we're going to find our rhythm.

"Everyone was more aggressive tonight, hence why we got the win. We played a lot better."

Sealing top spot with games to spare allows the Lakers to think about strategy for the playoffs, and could allow coach Frank Vogel to look at his options in the coming fixtures.

As Davis said: "We still want to go out and win every game but we want to sharpen our tools as well."

Anthony Davis is focused on helping the Los Angeles Lakers build rhythm after leading the way in a 103-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Davis starred with 34 points as the Lakers edged their rivals on Thursday, the NBA season restarting in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Lakers (50-14) moved closer to clinching the number one seed in the Western Conference, Davis said the focus was on improvement.

"That four months off was definitely a tough one for us, we're just trying to get our chemistry and rhythm back, especially since a lot of guys didn't play in that preseason," he told Spectrum SportsNet.

"Especially me with the eye injury, just want to get a rhythm back with these guys.

"We're going to keep playing each game, we're not going to look forward to seeding or nothing like that, we just want to come out and keep playing."

No fans are allowed to attend games in the NBA bubble due to COVID-19, which suspended the regular season in March.

Davis noticed a slight difference, but was happy with the atmosphere.

"It's always a great battle with these two teams. It wasn't that bad," he said.

"When you're out there playing, you're locked into the game and don't hear anything else.

"It wasn't quite Staples [Center], especially the intros … but it wasn't bad.

"A lot of people had a lot of concerns just how it was going to be, but it turned out pretty well."

LeBron James scored the go-ahead basket as the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers returned to NBA action with a 103-101 victory against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.

James' layup with 12.8 seconds remaining ensured the Lakers topped the Clippers to move a step closer to clinching the number one seed in the west in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.

The Lakers – led by Anthony Davis' 34 points and a 16-point, 11-rebound James double-double – are six-and-a-half games clear of the Clippers in the Western Conference.

Paul George top scored for the Clippers with 30 points, while Kawhi Leonard added 28 of his own.

The Lakers-Clippers showdown was the second game in a doubleheader as the NBA resumed with the Utah Jazz outlasting the New Orleans Pelicans at Walt Disney World Resort.

COVID-19 forced the 2019-20 season to be postponed in March, but the league restarted behind closed doors, with all four teams kneeling in unison during the United States national anthem.

Four-time MVP James and the Lakers dusted off some early rust to earn bragging rights against Leonard and the Clippers.

The Lakers raced out of the blocks to lead 35-23 at the end of the opening quarter, but the Clippers moved ahead by 11 points midway through the third period.

In the final quarter, George nailed a three-pointer with less than two minutes remaining to reduce the Lakers' lead to 99-98 before hitting another shot from beyond the arc to level the game at 101-apiece 29 seconds from the end.

Three-time champion James, however, came up big with the late layup and a strong defensive effort on George, who missed a buzzer-beating three.

Anthony Davis is confident he will be fit to play when the Los Angeles Lakers face the LA Clippers in their NBA restart opener in Orlando on Thursday.

Davis returned to practice on Wednesday having been sidelined due to a poke in the eye during the Lakers' scrimmage game against the Orlando Magic.

"The eye is getting better, way better than when I initially got this," Davis told reporters.

"I'm moving in the right direction. That's the plan, for me to play."

The seven-time All Star practiced in protective goggles but is hopeful he can resume competitive action without the eyewear.

"It was definitely different in practice," he said. "It felt different. I won't necessarily have to wear them tomorrow, it's just a precautionary thing.

"If I need them, they're there. I didn't want the first time of me wearing them to be in a game.

"I wanted to test them in practice. As practice went on, I got more and more used to them."

The setback of his improving eye injury aside, Davis feels refreshed as the Lakers prepare to restart their bid for championship glory.

"I think it was good for everybody," he said of the enforced, league-wide hiatus.

"I think guys did a good job of using that time wisely to take care of their bodies and making sure they came back ready."

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis could sit out Thursday's NBA return against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers due to an eye injury.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said All-Star Davis is considered "day-to-day" after he was poked in the eye during Saturday's scrimmage against the Orlando Magic.

Davis did not participate in practice on Tuesday as the Lakers prepare for the 2019-20 season to resume via a 22-team format in Orlando, Florida after the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"He's day-to-day, and while he's still dealing with discomfort there is some concern that he could potentially not play Thursday," Vogel told reporters via a video conference on Tuesday.

"But we're hopeful that he does, and we'll see how that plays out. He's going to continue to be evaluated each day."

Davis left the 119-112 victory over the Magic at Walt Disney Resort, having put up nine points and 10 rebounds.

The 27-year-old was averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Western Conference-leading Lakers prior to the postponement.

"I don't know if I'm allowed to really get into the details of it, other than that's what they told me to report," Vogel added. "So that's all I can give you."

Following the lead of his fellow All-Star Los Angeles Lakers team-mate LeBron James, Anthony Davis said he will wear his last name on the back of his jersey instead of a social justice message when the NBA restarts its season in Orlando later this month.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday in a conference call following the Lakers' practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Davis said he chose to use his name over one of the NBA's 29 approved social justice slogans to continue to honour his family.

"I was kind of torn between the two," the seven-time All-Star said.

"I just think my last name is something that is very important to me, and social justice as well. But [I'm] just holding my family name and representing the name on the back to go through this process ... and people who have been with me through my entire career to help me get to this point."

James, one of the league's more outspoken players on the topic of racial inequality, said on Saturday that the available messages "didn't seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal".

"Everything that I do has a purpose, has a meaning," the four-time NBA MVP said. "I don't need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I'm about and what I'm here to do."

Davis stressed his support of the social justice initiatives the NBA has planned when it returns from a hiatus of more than four months due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

"We'll have a ton of ways to represent what we stand for," he said.

Davis is averaging team-highs of 26.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for a Lakers team that enter the restart with a 5.5-game lead over cross-town rivals the Clippers for the best record in the Western Conference. The teams will face one another in the second game of an opening-night doubleheader when the league resumes play on July 30.

Anthony Davis believes the Los Angeles Lakers have a higher chance of winning the NBA championship thanks to the coronavirus-enforced break.

The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with LeBron James' Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

The Lakers topped the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis and All-Star Davis feels the storied Los Angeles franchise are primed to claim their first NBA ring since 2010.

"Actually, I think our chances are higher just because we're all rested and we're all ready to go," Davis told reporters via a videoconference call on Thursday.

"If anything, our chances got higher and it's going to be about just who wants it more."

Davis added: "It's been good for me to kind of let some of them lingering injuries I had towards the time when the NBA stopped to kind of recover and heal and get back into the best version of myself.

"I feel 100 per cent healthy. Well, I don't feel, I am [100 per cent healthy]. I feel like I'm ready. Ready to go."

The Lakers had gone 8-2 after the All-Star break, with James and team-mate Davis leading the way.

Davis was averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals per game prior to the postponement.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said: "[When] you're on the floor, you have an opportunity to grow and your team has an opportunity to grow.

"When we get to Orlando, it'll be the next step in that process and his journey in this season as a Laker. We look forward to seeing – hopefully the best is yet to come."

LeBron James was thrilled to see Anthony Davis "going nuts" in the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

Davis was 13-of-19 from the field for his 37 points and 13 rebounds, with the Lakers claiming a 120-107 victory.

James, who had 22 points and 14 assists, thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.

"AD was going nuts," said James, per ESPN. "It was fun."

James had long lobbied for the Lakers to sign Davis and, with that ambition realised when he traded from the New Orleans Pelicans in July, the three-time NBA champion is delighted with how things are working out.

"It's everything I expected and more," he said. "Obviously that's why I wanted him here. When you get a generational talent like that and you got an opportunity to get him, you just try to do whatever you can to get him.

"I gave my opinion on what I thought he could bring to this franchise. I gave my thoughts about the player, but not only the player, the person. Hopefully they took my advice to heart.

"Obviously, ultimately they made the decision to do what we did in the offseason. It's no surprise to me.

"I already knew how incredible the guy is. He had 50 [points] in the All-Star Game. You know, 30s, 20s, 40s and 20s he had when he was with the Pelicans and just doing the things he was doing at that size, there's not too many guys who have done that in this league."

Anthony Davis felt the Los Angeles Lakers "filled the void" left by LeBron James' absence in the 116-86 win over the Golden State Warriors.

James sat out Thursday's trip to San Francisco due to a sore groin, but All-Star team-mate Davis stepped up with 23 points and six rebounds.

"LeBron, when he's out, it's taking away a lot of things that we do," said Davis after helping his side to a seventh consecutive win.

"It's on all of us to make sure we try to fill those voids, and I think we did that.

"Usually when he's playing and he comes off the floor we kind of take a dip in all aspects of the game. We've got to play how we did tonight when he's playing and he's not on the floor.

"It's good for guys to get those reps. When he comes back we've just got to make sure we keep the same pace, same intensity even when he's not on the floor."

Defeated Warriors coach Steve Kerr conceded runs to the NBA Finals in each of the previous five seasons have taken their toll on his team.

Despite his absence, Kerr cited James as a remarkable example of how to cope with the rigours of going deep into the postseason year after year, although he can see the positives in missing out this time around.

"Watching LeBron, he looks refreshed, he looks recharged," said Kerr. "The idea of eight straight Finals in insane when you think about five here and what it's done and how our players have felt this past year and the injuries that have hit.

"I do believe that when all is said and done, by next year's training camp our guys should feel recharged and refreshed and ready to go.

"Hopefully that's the case. LeBron's also LeBron. He's built differently than most people."

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