James, Davis back on court for Lakers as season draws near

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Otto Porter Jr., Hamidou Diallo, Theo Maledon

Chicago Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) passes in front of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo (6) and guard Theo Maledon (11) in the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

LeBron James and Anthony Davis returned to the court for the Los Angeles Lakers, less than a week before the start of the regular season — and just over two months after winning the NBA title.

This short offseason could be particularly tough on the Lakers after their run to the championship, but James and Davis played for the first time this preseason Wednesday night in Los Angeles’ 112-107 victory at Phoenix. Davis sank a turnaround to start the game and had 10 points in 17 1/2 minutes. James scored 11 points in 15 minutes.

“I felt great, honestly,” Davis said. “Coming in, I thought I was going to be a little winded. You can try to get in shape all you want, but it’s nothing like getting in basketball shape.”

The Lakers, who beat Miami to win the championship Oct. 11, start the new season against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

In addition to James and Davis, Kyle Kuzma was in the starting lineup for the Lakers on Wednesday, along with new acquisitions Dennis Schroder and Marc Gasol.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night, the New York Knicks rallied from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-93. Julius Randle scored 18 points for the Knicks and RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox II had 16 apiece.

“Once we got some energy from getting stops, I thought that gave us a lot more energy on offense,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Also on Wednesday, Chicago beat Oklahoma City 124-103, and Denver beat Portland 126-95.

Former Thunder coach Billy Donovan returned to Oklahoma City as Chicago’s coach. He led the Thunder to the playoffs last season before deciding not to return.

There are seven games scheduled for Thursday, eight games Friday, and then the preseason wraps up with three games Saturday.

Wednesday’s games:

LAKERS 112, SUNS 107

At Phoenix, Kuzma scored 23 points to lead the Lakers, who outscored Phoenix 43-24 in the fourth quarter. Both teams led by as many as 14 points.

Montrezl Harrell’s hook shot capped an 18-4 run that put Los Angeles up 91-90, and it was fairly tight the rest of the way.

Deandre Ayton scored 21 points for Phoenix and Devin Booker added 16.

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 18 for the Lakers.

KNICKS 100, CAVALIERS 93

At New York, the Knicks rallied after Cleveland led 83-66 early in the final period. Knox had 14 points in the fourth, including three 3-pointers.

Andre Drummond had 18 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes for Cleveland. The Cavaliers acquired the big man in a trade with Detroit last season. Drummond even sank a 3-pointer Wednesday. He was 5 for 35 from beyond the arc last season for the Pistons and Cavaliers.

Darius Garland added 13 points for Cleveland.

BULLS 124, THUNDER 103

At Oklahoma City, the Bulls took control in the second quarter and didn’t let up. Coby White scored 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Zach LaVine added 24 points in 26 minutes for the Bulls.

Al Horford had 15 points and seven rebounds in his first preseason action with the Thunder, and Frank Jackson added 15 points for Oklahoma City. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 12 points in 19 minutes.

LaVine scored 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first quarter while Gilgeous-Alexander scored 11 for Oklahoma City.

Chicago shot 52% in the first half to lead 59-46. The Bulls’ largest lead was 27 points early in the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City couldn’t get into a flow, but part of that was because first-year coach Mark Daigneault gave minutes to 13 players.

The teams meet again Friday.

NUGGETS 126 TRAIL BLAZERS 95

At Denver, Paul Millsap scored 18 points and Nikola Jokic had 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets.

Denver led 41-24 after the first quarter. The Nuggets shot 52% from the field for the game and made 19 3-pointers.

Robert Covington led Portland with 15 points.

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