Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis put together one of his worst performances in recent memory during their Game 1 loss to the Phoenix Suns. After the game, he put the loss completely on himself, saying the Lakers wouldn’t win a game if he kept playing like that.
He challenged himself to improve and did so quickly with Game 2 just 48 hours later.
Davis responded in a big way on Tuesday, finishing with 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks while shooting 18-for-21 from the free-throw line in the Lakers’ win. He still wasn’t his usual efficient self from the field, but he used the Suns’ defensive aggression against them to get to the line while still hitting some very timely shots.
Davis discussed how he was feeling after Game 1 and what he did to prepare over the last two days. “I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I go out there and just play basketball. Played with a lot more energy and effort tonight. Just played aggressive. I think that was the difference from Game 1.
“Just watching some film. Watching some film from the Finals when I played against Jae [Crowder] and just learning from those situations and seeing what I can do to be effective on the floor to help my team. But that was it. Just getting in the mode of this is a must-win. I think we all came out with that mindset and we was able to get the job done.”
The Lakers star went into depth on how he spent the last two days while in Phoenix. “Like I said, to myself. Really stayed in my room the whole time. Got a little patio. … Getting locked in for Game 2, knowing I couldn’t have that type of performance again. Bron was around me a lot, so he already knew. I didn’t even talk to him that much and he knows when I do that it’s going to be a good night for me and for our team.
“Just trying to stay locked in and knowing that it’s going to be a challenge to repeat, obviously. It’s going to be a challenge to beat this team. In order for our team to do that, I’m going to have to play how I played tonight or better. I can’t play how played in Game 1.”
Davis’ star teammate, LeBron James, gave his take on how he responded to a poor Game 1. He also spoke about what his and Davis’ motivations are for this postseason. “Well one, for the last two days, very limited communication with AD because I seen his demeanor. That’s No. 1. For us as a group, we don’t look for bulletin board motivation.”
“We’re motivated because we’re in the postseason again and as a team, we have an opportunity to do something special. No matter what seed you are, when you get in the postseason you have an opportunity to do something special and we’re one of 16 teams that made it into the postseason, so we look forward to it.”
The Lakers winning their second straight championship — but this time as a No. 7 seed — would be an incredibly impressive run. However, their main focus remains on adjusting to and defeating the Suns, who have given them plenty of trouble the last two games.
Davis being back to his usual self would be a huge benefit for the Lakers, and may even be the difference in this series. If he can come out in Game 3 and be equally dominant, it could completely shift things in the Lakers’ direction.
Davis credits experience for closing out Game 2
One of the Lakers’ biggest advantages in this series with the Suns is their playoff experience. The Suns are a young team, and that showed towards the end of Game 2 when they were unable to keep momentum after making an impressive comeback against L.A.
Davis spoke about that advantage and how they were able to use it. “We’re a veteran team. We had some mistakes down the end, but we stayed poised, we stayed comfortable. We’ve been in that position before. We didn’t overreact,” Davis said.
“The team is playing at home with the crowd. You got to make shots and we just make sure we execute on the other end and that we got stops when it mattered, so we didn’t stress too much.”
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