'Drained and dehydrated': Lakers coach details Davis illness after early exit

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Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham shed some light on Anthony Davis' health after the surging star was forced to leave Tuesday's 116-102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers with flu-like symptoms.

Davis could only muster eight minutes before making his way to the locker room, being promptly ruled out from returning.

LeBron James picked up some of the slack inside as he racked up a season-high 17 rebounds to go with his 21 points, but the Lakers were no match for the Cavs down the stretch when Donovan Mitchell caught fire.

Mitchell top-scored with 43 points on 17-of-27 shooting, while Jarrett Allen was the main beneficiary of Davis' absence, dominating the interior with 24 points (11-of-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds.

Speaking after the loss, Ham said Davis' issue was one he was dealing with all day, but he tried, unsuccessfully, to tough it out.

"Yeah, it progressively got worse," he said. "His temperature went over 100 – I believe it was 101-and-change.

"He said he was going to try and give it a go, and he did, but he just felt too weak, drained and dehydrated a little bit.

"But, you know, it's that time of the season, in terms of winter time and the weather changing. Changing climates, coming from LA and going to these different places.

"We've dealt with it earlier in the year, and he experienced it again today. It set in earlier in the day, and it worsened as the day went on."

Ham discussed how he tried to combat the Lakers' lack of size by pivoting towards a focus on speed, but ultimately did not have the firepower to overcome it.

"We massaged the rotation a little bit… with him going out, just really trying to throw some different line-ups out there," he said.

"They're a really wide, rangy, long, athletic ball club, so just trying to get some speed out there to combat some of their size.

"Hats off to our guys, man, they competed their hearts out. That's a huge blow, obviously, with the way he's been playing of late, but they stayed the course.

"They got through the first half pretty good, they made it competitive in the third quarter, and then the bottom kind of fell out."

James gave his respect to Thomas Bryant, who came off the bench for the Lakers and chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, but said there is no replacing Davis.

"Next man up, but that's a tall task – figuratively and literally – for what AD has been doing for us over the last few weeks," he said.

"I thought Thomas [Bryant] came in and gave us some great minutes. He was high-energy, worked the glass really well, but it was tough for us when AD went out. We had to switch up our whole game plan from what we were trying to do.

"But we gave as much as we could, we had a couple of opportunities in the fourth, but they broke away with it."

He added: "Obviously you can't replace AD, so everyone has to do a little bit more, but do their job, at the highest level or capacity they can do it, and live with the results.

"[Davis' exit meant we lacked] a little bit of everything. He's giving us everything – scoring, defense, rebounding, blocking shots around the rim, our length… when you have a guy that's six-foot-11 with a seven-foot-seven wingspan, you can't match that."

The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Lakers, although they have still won eight of their past 11 outings to pull their record to 10-13 after a 2-10 start.