Anthony Davis Credits Lakers For Playing ‘High Level Basketball’ In ‘Fun Game’ Against Bucks
Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lakers, Bucks
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers went into their matchup on Tuesday night with the odds stacked against them. Facing the Milwaukee Bucks without superstar LeBron James in the lineup to kick off a six-game road trip is hardly a recipe for success.

And yet, behind exceptional performances from Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, the Lakers were able to topple the star-studded Bucks with a 128-124 double overtime victory.

Reaves and Russell were stellar for the Lakers in the backcourt, scoring at will, distributing with ease and limiting Damian Lillard to 9-for-29 from the field. But the true superstar was Davis, who did just about everything in his power to will the Lakers to the shocking comeback win. His 34 points, 23 rebounds, two steals and four blocks in a career-high 52 minutes is just the surface of his impact on the game.

And he managed to reach that career-best 52-minute mark despite banging knees with Bucks forward Khris Middleton. He spoke about that moment and how he was able to stay zeroed in on the game, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“Just keeping my knee warm. My trainer had a heat pack, doing some release work. I don’t think I got a knee to knee. I’m not sure what happened, but it is what it is.”

Turning his focus back to the game, Davis spoke about getting the win without James in the lineup and what the Lakers are looking for with each individual outing:

“High level basketball. It was a fun game, great game. Two teams competing. We know where we’re trying to get to, where we are in the standings and we got to control what we can control. Taking it one game at a time, try to win one game at a time and let the rest take care of itself. For us as a unit, especially with Bron out, guys had to step up and we did that on both ends of the floor.”

A win like this — given all the elements — could certainly qualify as the best win of the season. But the Lakers superstar wouldn’t go into that, instead looking at what the win means for the team in the present moment:

“I’m not sure. It was a good win to start the road trip, for sure, especially going into a back-to-back. The first game and last game (of a road trip) are usually like the toughest because of the time difference to start and then the end of the road trip, guys are like oh, I’m trying to get home, been on the road for like 10 days. So it was a good win in that regard and like I said, we do it all again tomorrow and then get some rest.”

If there was a flaw in Davis’ game on Tuesday, it was his 12-for-31 effort from the field. However, in prior games, Davis might have stopped shooting after starting so inefficiently. But it was the advice of teammates and coaches that allowed him to fight through an early slump and keep shooting:

“I’m very confident in my game. Just keep shooting. I know none of the shots that I took felt weird. They all felt good, just missed them. So I just kept shooting. Even in the third, some of those shots felt weird for sure, but the confidence that my teammates instill in me, especially DLo and our assistant coach DeMarre (Carroll) just telling me to keep shooting all the time. Shoot the ball. So that’s all I try to do knowing that the team relies on me a lot, especially when Bron is out and I just try to do my part.”

The Lakers needed this kind of performance from Davis if they were going to surprise the Bucks and extend their winning streak to four games. And while it doesn’t guarantee they’ll catch any of the teams they’re chasing, this win puts them in as good a position as they’ve been in all season to make a run.

LeBron James explains ankle injury management for Lakers

LeBron James discussed the need to be very strategic with how he handles his ankle injury for the the rest of the season, including not playing back-to-backs, which is why he sat out against the Bucks on Tuesday.

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