The Los Angeles Lakers are officially rolling, winning their third straight playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers and taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
In celebration of Mamba Day, the Lakers appeared focused right from the jump as they out to a 15-0 run, setting the tone for what would eventually be a blowout.
Anthony Davis was instrumental in that, burning Portland on midrange jumpers and defending the paint by deterring drives and looks at the rim. He scored 11 first-quarter points, and Los Angeles did not have much to worry about after that.
Davis was well on his way to another monstrous game, but was quickly pulled in the third quarter due to suffering back spasms. While it was concerning at the time, the big man said after the game that it was nothing to worry about.
“Back is doing fine. I’ll be fine,” he said.
The All-Star would only play 18 minutes, but he still finished with a game-high +37 in the box score. “Just absolutely dominant. I don’t think I’ve ever seen +37 in 17 minutes,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said.
“What he did defensively, he had one play where he had two deflections on both sides of the guy he was guarding and then dove on the floor and got a loose ball to get us going on the break. Several blocks, deflections, containment plays. He was just all over the place on the defensive end, and then he was making everything. Just a dominant performance to start the game for us.”
Even in short stints, Davis can dominate a game like few in the NBA can and that was on display against an overmatched Portland team that clearly has no answer for him. Davis is already a dangerous vertical threat off the pick-and-roll but when he has his jumper going he is nearly impossible to guard.
James has already referred to his running mate as a unicorn and the purple and gold will need him to continue this stretch of play if they hope to get to deep into the postseason.
Davis on Kobe Bryant
Playing on Mamba Day had to have been a motivating factor for the Lakers heading into Game 4 and they did not disappoint. Kobe Bryant’s death has been a difficult thing to grasp, but the Lakers have rallied as a group and are back to playing their normal brand of basketball.
“We were able to win this on a very emotional and special night for us, wearing the Kobe jerseys,” Davis said.
“Realizing when we played after the tragedy, it was also against Portland and they were able to take that one from us at home. We just wanted to make sure we did everything we could to get this win for him.”
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