Lakers News: Darvin Ham Expects LeBron James & Anthony Davis To Be Available In Back-To-Back Against Timberwolves & Pelicans

Originally published by LakersNation.com

The Los Angeles Lakers were able to get a couple days off without travel following Christmas Day, which meant some much-needed rest overall. The result in the ensuing game was a decisive win over the Charlotte Hornets with Anthony Davis and LeBron James leading the way, as usual.

But the Lakers will end the month of December in the same way they spent most of it, on the road and with another back-to-back. The Lakers head to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Saturday night followed by a trip to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on New Year’s Eve.

Head coach Darvin Ham has been trying all season to manage the minutes of his two stars, but with this final stretch of 2023, the Lakers coach isn’t really thinking about minutes restrictions for LeBron or Davis and expects both to be available for both games as long as they stay healthy.

“Man, those guys are highly competitive,” Ham said after the Lakers’ 21-point win over the Hornets. “And there’s two teams that’s going to be right in the mix. One is at the top of the Western Conference, one is surging. So I expect those guys to have themselves ready and available.

“I don’t know if a minute restriction applies or minutes zone applies when you deal with this high-level basketball to finish the calendar year. I just look forward to us getting to Minnesota safely, God willing, and being ready to play that game on Saturday. Worry about the rest later.”

When push has come to shove, James and Davis have been willing and able to push themselves and play however many minutes are necessary for the Lakers to come out on top. Ham knows that if the Lakers plan to end this month on a high note, that very well could be necessary again.

With their blowout win against Charlotte however, James and Davis were able to sit out the entire fourth quarter, something Davis is thankful for.

“Anytime I’m able to bank some minutes, especially going into a tough back-to-back in Minnesota and New Orleans, it helps us as a team,” Davis said.

Recently, the Lakers have had the chance to test themselves against some of the best teams in the league and the results have been hit or miss. The team was competitive last week against the Timberwolves despite LeBron sitting out, and they did bounce back and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have the second-best record in the West. But Christmas Day against the Boston Celtics was disappointing.

Nonetheless, the Lakers have an excellent opportunity ahead of them to send a message to the rest of the league and Ham will surely rely on his two stars to do so.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham not concerned with workload for LeBron James & Anthony Davis

One other recent concern for James and Davis is the increased workload on offense with the Lakers’ new starting lineup as defensive-minded Jarred Vanderbilt replaced the most offensively talented D’Angelo Russell. But this is not a concern for Ham since LeBron and Davis are playing so well.

“Not really. Because it’s not just them being out there, they’re excelling at a high level,” Ham said following practice Wednesday. “Both of those guys are playing at an extremely high level and they want to be on the floor. It’s not like, OK, we’re low on bodies so we got to force them to play. Nah. A lot of it has to do with their performance. They’re performing at a high level so it’s tough.

“But just try to get them breaks when you can but when they’re playing like that, it’s hard. Because you need it and again, they’re in a good rhythm. They don’t want to sit on the bench for long when they’ve got it going at a high level.”

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The Los Angeles Lakers were able to get a couple days off without travel following Christmas Day, which meant some much-needed rest overall. The result in the ensuing game was a decisive win over the Charlotte Hornets with Anthony Davis and LeBron James leading the way, as usual.

But the Lakers will end the month of December in the same way they spent most of it, on the road and with another back-to-back. The Lakers head to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Saturday night followed by a trip to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on New Year’s Eve.

Head coach Darvin Ham has been trying all season to manage the minutes of his two stars, but with this final stretch of 2023, the Lakers coach isn’t really thinking about minutes restrictions for LeBron or Davis and expects both to be available for both games as long as they stay healthy.

“Man, those guys are highly competitive,” Ham said after the Lakers’ 21-point win over the Hornets. “And there’s two teams that’s going to be right in the mix. One is at the top of the Western Conference, one is surging. So I expect those guys to have themselves ready and available.

“I don’t know if a minute restriction applies or minutes zone applies when you deal with this high-level basketball to finish the calendar year. I just look forward to us getting to Minnesota safely, God willing, and being ready to play that game on Saturday. Worry about the rest later.”

When push has come to shove, James and Davis have been willing and able to push themselves and play however many minutes are necessary for the Lakers to come out on top. Ham knows that if the Lakers plan to end this month on a high note, that very well could be necessary again.

With their blowout win against Charlotte however, James and Davis were able to sit out the entire fourth quarter, something Davis is thankful for.

“Anytime I’m able to bank some minutes, especially going into a tough back-to-back in Minnesota and New Orleans, it helps us as a team,” Davis said.

Recently, the Lakers have had the chance to test themselves against some of the best teams in the league and the results have been hit or miss. The team was competitive last week against the Timberwolves despite LeBron sitting out, and they did bounce back and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have the second-best record in the West. But Christmas Day against the Boston Celtics was disappointing.

Nonetheless, the Lakers have an excellent opportunity ahead of them to send a message to the rest of the league and Ham will surely rely on his two stars to do so.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham not concerned with workload for LeBron James & Anthony Davis

One other recent concern for James and Davis is the increased workload on offense with the Lakers’ new starting lineup as defensive-minded Jarred Vanderbilt replaced the most offensively talented D’Angelo Russell. But this is not a concern for Ham since LeBron and Davis are playing so well.

“Not really. Because it’s not just them being out there, they’re excelling at a high level,” Ham said following practice Wednesday. “Both of those guys are playing at an extremely high level and they want to be on the floor. It’s not like, OK, we’re low on bodies so we got to force them to play. Nah. A lot of it has to do with their performance. They’re performing at a high level so it’s tough.

“But just try to get them breaks when you can but when they’re playing like that, it’s hard. Because you need it and again, they’re in a good rhythm. They don’t want to sit on the bench for long when they’ve got it going at a high level.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!