Lakers News: Anthony Davis Discusses Difficulty Of Closeout Games
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis did everything he could to try and end the team’s first round series in five games. He posted 31 points and 19 rebounds on 14-for-23 from the field and was a team-high plus-6 in what ended up as a 116-99 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Now, the 3-1 series becomes 3-2 and shifts back to Los Angeles for a Game 6 on Friday night. Davis will need to give everything he can again and hope that his teammates follow suit. In Game 5, the Lakers’ next leading scorer was Austin Reaves with 17 points on an inefficient 4-for-13 shooting.

Following the game, though, Davis didn’t worry about his teammates and instead focused on the relative difficulty of closeout games as compared with the rest of the series, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“It’s the toughest game. Closeout games are tough, the other team is going to come out with such a desperation, and it was on their home floor. The crowd is into it, they got hot in the first quarter making shots and Desmond Bane got hot. The energy just fed into the other guys and they started making plays and making shots. We had our moments and our runs where we were able to get back in the game, but the run at the end of the third quarter got away from us. They did what they were supposed to do. Now, we’re going back to L.A., on our home floor where we’re 2-0, and we’ll try to close it out.”

Looking ahead to Game 6, both teams now have something significant to fight for. The Lakers and Grizzlies could each consider this an elimination game given the implications of a loss. Davis expanded on this when discussing the pivotal L.A. matchup.

“I think (the pressure is) on both teams. We’re looking to close the series, which is always the toughest game. The other team has pressure as well to not want to go home. So I think the pressure is on both teams. Obviously, we’re not looking to come back for a Game 7. Anything can happen in a Game 7. We’re still in control right now and we need to take care of business on Friday.”

The Lakers — even in their post-deadline form — have had a tendency to let their foot off the gas pedal in some important moments. They simply cannot afford to do that against the Grizzlies in Game 6. Allowing the series to go back to Memphis for a winner-take-all Game 7 would be a disastrous result.

Davis appears ready for the challenge and is aware of the desperation that the Grizzlies are going to come out with. Now, they have to find a way to match it.

D’Angelo Russell doesn’t want to go back to Memphis

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell was even more candid than Davis when discussing the possibility of having to return to Memphis for a Game 7. He said that the Lakers have to do whatever they can to prepare themselves physically and mentally to close out the series in L.A.

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