Lakers’ Frank Vogel: Anthony Davis Playing With Playoff Intensity
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis finally looks back to his old self, as evidenced by his performances in the last two games. While L.A. went just 1-1 against the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns, Davis seems to be 100% and ready to lead Frank Vogel’s rotation down the stretch of the regular season.

In his last two performances, Davis is averaging 39 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, 1.5 steals and 2.0 blocks on 50% from the field and 37.5% from three. It’s a very small sample size, but that is sheer dominance from Davis while playing two Western Conference playoff opponents that still had something to fight for in those games.

Vogel spoke about Davis’ performances and what the stakes of the Lakers’ last two games has brought out of him. “I think that’s the silver lining that no one is really talking about right now. For the last couple of weeks and the last two games, we’ve been playing really every possession matters type of basketball, which is what the playoffs are like.

“That’s what the playoff intensity is about and sometimes you have a playoff seeding locked up and you kind of coast into it. You’re not as sharp as you need to be going into the playoffs, but the urgency we’ve been forced to play with I think has come out in Anthony’s performance the last couple of games, and I think it’s going to benefit our whole group.”

The Lakers head coach then focused specifically on what Davis is doing as a leader with LeBron James out of the lineup. “I think with Anthony, he really leads with his play as much as with his voice. He’s rallying guys and talking things out throughout the game and whatnot, but he sets a tone for us with his assertiveness.

“When he comes to play the way he did the last two games looking to dominate, everybody else gets a little more air in their chest and get more confidence in what we’re going to be able to do that night. It just takes time when you miss as much time as he did for him to be able to have that sort of pop to his game. So I think it’s been great with his leadership of late.”

One of the biggest testament’s to Davis’ abilities as a player is the fact that the Lakers went 2-2 against four consecutive conference playoff opponents without James and Dennis Schroder. L.A. was also missing Talen Horton-Tucker in two of those games and Kyle Kuzma in one.

If Davis can bring this level of intensity and passion to the playoffs — even without averaging 39 points a game — he can still help lead the Lakers deep into the playoffs. For the next four games, the goal is simply winning every game possible to try and get out of the play-in tournament.

Davis headed in right direction

After the Lakers win over the Suns, where Davis had a season-high 42 points, he said he felt like things were finally coming together for him.

“I feel good. I’m getting my legs back, I’m getting my rhythm back,” Davis said after the win. “I’m getting my steps back on both ends of the floor, so I feel good. I’m getting better each game, I’m getting my wind back each game. So we’re in the right direction.”

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