Anthony Davis has not looked like the elite talent he has become known for since coming back from injury, but he completely changed that perception after his performance in the Los Angeles Lakers’ win against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Davis looked much more active and mobile on both ends of the floor as he looked to carry the scoring burden without LeBron James and Dennis Schroder. The 28-year-old scored 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, while also adding seven rebounds and three blocks in 33 minutes of playing time.
Davis had been settling for jumpers since returning, but against a poor shot-blocking team like the Nuggets, he was much more assertive trying to get to the basket and score around the rim. Defensively it was the best he has looked as he was a menace protecting the paint while also moving his feet well when forced out to the perimeter.
What really signaled that Davis is back to form was his closeout on the final Nuggets possession where he ran from inside the paint out to the 3-point line and blocked Facundo Campazzo’s 3-point attempt.
Aside from Davis, the Lakers received massive performances from their oft-forgotten veterans in Marc Gasol and Wesley Matthews. Gasol was injected into the game because Andre Drummond was dealing with foul trouble and he turned in one of his best games as he knocked down three out of his four 3-point attempts and did a solid job guarding Nikola Jokic.
Matthews made an appearance after receiving several DNPs the past couple of weeks and looked rejuvenated on both ends of the floor. Matthews was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, scoring eight points and keeping Los Angeles well in front.
The game ultimately came down to the final minutes as Michael Porter Jr. and Jokic were able to take advantage of an ill-timed Lakers scoring drought and bring the game within two points with less than a minute to go. However, Talen Horton-Tucker was able to come up with a loose ball after taking an ill-advised shot and scored on a reverse lay-up to put the game out of reach.
Next up for Lakers
The Lakers will have two days off before they face off against the Staples Center co-tenants, the L.A. Clippers. It will be another tough test, especially if James is unable to go due to his right ankle.
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