Lakers, Anthony Davis set for rematch at Mavericks

Playing for the first time after missing 30 straight games because of a right calf strain, Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis said he felt like himself physically.

Davis finished 2-for-10 from the field, with four points, four rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in 17 minutes, as the Lakers lost 115-110 to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

With the win, the Mavericks, No. 7 in the Western Conference, improved to 32-26 and inched closer to the 35-24 Lakers, who hold the No. 5 seed.

Like Dallas, the Portland Trail Blazers are 32-26 and currently the No. 6 seed; Portland holds the tiebreaker over the Mavericks because they lead the season series 2-1 over Dallas.

"I felt fine," Davis said. "My wind felt better than I expected. I got good looks that I missed, and obviously that comes with time, to get those game reps. But I felt good out there. I felt really good.

"I was able to do some things to give the team a little juice. We came out with a great start, but it's tough when you're able to play, then you've got to watch the whole second half and not be able to contribute on the floor."

The Lakers are working to hold off the Mavericks and avoid the play-in game for seeds 7-10.

However, Davis will likely have a minutes restriction -- playing 15-to-20 minutes in just one half against the Mavericks again on Saturday.

"We dropped this one tonight, knowing that Dallas is trying to catch Portland and us -- and they came a game closer," Davis said. "On Saturday, we're going to talk about how the minutes will look then. I know it probably won't be a full game, but it's still tough when we're trying to battle as well for seeding.

"But we know at the end of the day when everyone's healthy, we're a tough team to beat. No matter where we fall in the playoff field, we're going to come out, and I think we're going to be a challenge for anybody. That's how we look at it, big picture. But we still want to make sure that we control our own destiny, and make sure we're in the playoffs 1-6, and not fall to the 7-to-10 range."

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle will continue to lean on his superstar, Luka Doncic, to carry his team on both ends of the floor.

Doncic finished with a game-high 30 points, along with nine rebounds and eight assists in the win over the Lakers on Thursday.

Over the past five games, Doncic has averaged 30 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds a contest. The Mavericks are 3-2 in those games.

The Mavericks play seven games at home and seven on the road in their final 14 games of the regular season. However, Dallas is just 15-14 at home this season.

"We've got to play hard every game, and we've got to take every game seriously," Doncic said, when asked about his team's struggles at home. "Sometimes we just relax too much, and we've got to play hard every game. And our defense has to improve every game."

Dallas could be playing Saturday without two of its core rotational players, with Kristaps Porzingis (left ankle sprain) and Maxi Kleber (lower back contusion) questionable.

"We're just trying to get into the playoffs, no matter how," Doncic. "We're not trying to be in the play-in tournament. We're trying to keep moving up."

--Field Level Media