After a disappointing showing against the Toronto Raptors, Anthony Davis made sure he would not have a repeat performance and led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Davis was a man on a mission, scoring 42 points and adding 14 rebounds in a dominating performance. The big man looked to score early, hoisting up 14 shots in the first quarter alone and finding success from both the perimeter and inside the paint.
As the game went on, it was clear the Jazz had no real answer for Davis as he continually picked them apart. Davis drew plenty of fouls and attempted a team-high 15 free throws, knocking down 12 of them.
“Coaches told me to be more aggressive. They felt like — and I felt like — I played into Toronto’s defense and accepted the double-team. I was making the right plays but I still had to be aggressive at the same time,” he said after the win.
“I just tried to be very aggressive and still make the same smart plays. Finding guys in the corner and the open guy to just put pressure on the defense.”
Davis’s showing against the Jazz was a far cry from his game against the Raptors as he allowed Toronto to load up on his side of the floor and force him to give the ball up. He attempted only seven shots and ended the night with 14 points and six rebounds.
“I have to play better basketball than I did to help the team win. Even though I was making the right plays, I still have to be aggressive. I didn’t like the way I performed, and we didn’t like the way we performed as a team,” Davis said.
“It was a collective effort coming out and being more aggressive. We shot poorly last game but we wanted to come out and just keep shooting, knowing we were going to find our rhythm. I think everybody was more aggressive tonight, hence why we got the win and played a lot better.”
Davis’ bounce-back was exactly the type of game the Lakers expect from him as one of the few bigs in the league who can score and defend at such a high level.
Davis focused on winning, not Rudy Gobert
Despite the loss, the Jazz showed they are still one of the stingiest defenses in the NBA, and most of that can be credited to Rudy Gobert.
Gobert has built a reputation as one of the best defenders in the NBA and it is warranted as he is a deterrent at the rim that often has teams thinking twice about coming into the paint. He and Davis are considered to be two of the favorites to win this year’s Defensive Player of the Year Award, though that wasn’t used for any extra motivation.
“Obviously he’s a great defensive player. I was pretty upset he blocked me in the first quarter, so I just tried to get into his body and finish,” Davis explained. “But there’s no extra motivation.
“The motivation for me is to win the basketball game and do what I can to help the team win. That’s all I tried to do tonight.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!