Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers haven't clinched anything yet.

Following the team's third loss in four games — an uninspired and bricky 116-107 drubbing against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday — Anthony Davis isn't taking anything for granted.

“We control our own destiny. We have to start playing with a sense of desperation,” AD said postgame. “Even though we are in the playoffs as of right now, we’re not that far up from being in the play-in game. So we gotta play with a sense of desperation.”

Davis' urgent mindset didn't originate in the nation's capital. On Saturday, after the team's second consecutive loss to the Dallas Mavericks — furthering narrowing the gap in the standings — Davis described the Lakers' next two games as “must-wins.”

“We’ve got to keep fighting,” the All-Star said. “I think we’ve got like 12 games before the playoffs, so these last 12 are going to be crucial for us, so we’ve got to be able to get some wins.”

“Orlando and D.C. are must-wins for us, for sure.”

The Lakers took care of business against the bottom-feeding Orlando Magic on Monday, 114-103. But Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and a truly desperate Wizards (28-34) group fighting for play-in inclusion posed a different type of threat.

The Lakers couldn't match nor contain the energy of a freshly shorn Russ, who finished with 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 14 assists for his record-setting 132nd win while posting a triple-double.

The NBA's scoring leader, Bradley Beal, dropped a smooth 27 and looked as in control as Vogel alluded to pregame.

Davis ended up with 26 points, including 14 in the final period when he encouragingly hit two difficult 3-pointers. But L.A. fell behind by 19 points, causing Vogel to switch AD to center for the first time since his return from injury. The lineup — a norm in the playoffs — showed signs of life, cutting the deficit to nine points midway through the fourth quarter. In the end, it proved too little, too late.

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In general, L.A. was sluggish throughout the final game of its week-long road swing. Still, Anthony Davis wasn't happy with his team's uncharacteristically feeble effort.

“We scored 20 points in the second quarter. We gotta be able to score the basketball and also gets stops,” he lamented. “We gotta be able to hold teams to under 24-25 points each quarter. That’s the defensive team we’re capable of, and the team we wanna be.”

“We should never get outplayed. I feel like we got outplayed tonight. We should never get out-bullied.”

On a related note, Davis was one of three Lakers to get NFT'd by a Wizard at the rim at Capital One Arena.

All in all, it was a frustrating trip for the Lakers, despite the return of Davis. Certainly, it was not an ideal first look at the Davis and Andre Drummond starting frontcourt.

“Well, we lost three of the last four. You want it to happen right away and go 4-0 on this trip, that didn’t happen,” Frank Vogel said about the AD-AD chemistry. “But those guys, they’re integrating fine, and we’ll continue to grow each game.”

By the end of Wednesday's action, L.A. (36-26) led Dallas (34-27) by 1.5 games for the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and held a two-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers (34-28).

The well-traveled Lakers will return to Staples Center to face the Sacramento Kings (Friday) and Toronto Raptors (Sunday). A Monday matchup vs. the Denver Nuggets (on the second leg of a back-to-back) will kick off a five-game stretch against playoff teams: a B2B against the Los Angeles Clippers (5/6) and Blazers (5/7), followed by meetings with the Phoenix Suns (5/9) and New York Knicks (5/11).

Somewhere in there, LeBron James will play NBA basketball again. Once he returns, the Lakers will be left with a handful of games to reincorporate their superstar, find a team-wide groove, and win enough games to steer clear of the play-in zone.

The defending champions face the 12th-toughest remaining schedule, per Tankathon. Portland faces the fifth-hardest slate, while Dallas has the third-easiest.

“We just gotta look forward,” Vogel said before hopping the cross-country red-eye. “We got six out of our next eight at home, seven if you count the Clippers game. We gotta put this trip behind us. Continue to work on what we’re doing, reintegrating AD into our system, playing alongside Drum … just put this trip behind us.”