The Los Angeles Lakers fell short in what Anthony Davis dubbed a must-win game, losing to the Washington Wizards, 116-107, on Wednesday night.
It was a disappointing performance from the Lakers as they let their foot off the gas pedal after the first quarter when they took a 35-31 lead. The Wizards were relentlessly pushing the ball in transition and as a result, got plenty of good looks inside the arc.
With Los Angeles trailing big in the fourth, head coach Frank Vogel opted to play Anthony Davis at center and the star finally resembled himself. Davis scored 14 of his 26 points in the quarter and Vogel admitted that him playing the five contributed to his offensive success.
“Yeah, I think it helped,” Vogel said. “He’s obviously in this phase of trying to get his legs back under him, trying to get his rhythm and timing.
“We got down 19, at that point you try to make something happen. I think there was two benefits there of wanting to try to get AD some easier looks to try to continue to get him in rhythm and when you get down 19, you try to change the game is what we were looking for. And we were able to make some mini runs but they hit some big shots down the stretch to hold us off.”
It is well-known how reluctant Davis is to play center but it is clearly his best position as it opens up the floor for the Laker offense and allows him to roam the backline on defense. There are several big men worth playing, but Davis manning the paint is by far and away Los Angeles’ best chance at winning games.
It was interesting to see Vogel play Davis at the five so soon after his injury, but it was good to see him get reps there. If there was any positive to take away from the loss, it was that Davis at center solves a lot of the Purple and Gold’s problems, as was the case last season.
Davis wanted to be more aggressive offensively playing center
Davis was struggling before making the move to center, and he acknowledged that he tries to look for his shot more when he is the lone big on the floor. “Just being a little bit more aggressive,” Davis said.
“I feel like I was trying to find my rhythm, getting more comfortable out there on the floor and so just being confident in my shots and seeing them go through. Just building more confidence, that’s what it is, just being more aggressive.”
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