After a disappointing Game 1 performance, the Los Angeles Lakers and particularly Anthony Davis were intent on sending a message against the Portland Trail Blazes in Game 2.
They accomplished that goal in a major way and Davis gave a reminder as to why he’s considered by many as the best big man in the NBA. Davis finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds in a dominant 111-88 victory.
This came on the heels of a rough performance in Game 1 in which Davis seemed reluctant and timid at times, making very little impact down the stretch of a close game.
Some wondered if the stage and pressure may have gotten to Davis or if he lost his confidence, and while he acknowledged the game was a must-win for the team, stopped short of declaring it a necessary confidence boost.
“I just feel we needed a win. We don’t want to go down 0-2 in the series. Our mindset the entire season has been never lose two in a row. We just wanted to come out very scrappy and have a lot of confidence in making shots,” he said. “You never want to go down 0-2 in a series.
“It was a must-win game for us, and we played that way. We played with a sense of desperation and urgency. To be able to hold that team to 88 points, they’ve been playing extremely well in this bubble and their offensive rating is off the charts, it’s great for our team. But it’s still one game.
“We have three more wins to go. We just want to make sure we come out with the same energy.”
Not only did the Lakers get a win in order to avoid a dangerous series deficit to the Blazers, but they finally looked like the championship favorite many viewed them as coming into the restart. The team overall, Davis included, was extremely inconsistent throughout the seeding games though the concern never got too great until the Game 1 loss.
In Game 2 the Lakers improved their shooting across the board while maintaining the defensive intensity they showed throughout the majority of the playoff opener and Davis was the tone-setter on both ends of the floor.
The question moving forward now is whether both Davis and the Lakers can continue this level of performance on a consistent basis. Davis has had these types of performances inside the bubble, but they have tended to be followed by a letdown effort, and the Lakers can not afford that.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the Trail Blazers are going to come out on a mission and it will be on Davis to keep up his level of play and lead the way.
Damian Lillard playing through dislocated finger
The major conversation coming out of Game 2 was the health of Damian Lillard. The Blazers point guard suffered a dislocated left index finger in the third quarter and did not return to the game.
On the positive side, x-rays came back negative so there is nothing broken, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a painful injury that could affect Lillard moving forward. Lillard revealed it is the first time he’s dislocated a finger and expressed some concern over the impact it could have with handling the ball.
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