Anthony Davis shined in the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings despite L.A. eventually losing the game 105-75.
Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook played only in the first half, which L.A. ended with a five-point lead. During those 24 minutes, Davis scored 11 points and added 11 rebounds, leading the Lakers in both stat columns even after the game finished.
The 29-year-old said head coach Darvin Ham’s 4-out, 1-in offense opened up the paint, allowing the Purple and Gold to capitalize on open driving lines and either get to the basket or kick the ball back to teammates on the perimeter.
Also, Davis said the Lakers just wanted to play with a lot of energy in the early minutes, knowing some of them would play with restricted minutes. “We were just out there playing hard, flying around, making efforts with our energy and that was it just knowing our time was limited as a unit,” he said.
“Just making sure that whatever we did, we wanted to do it for the time we were out there.”
Notably, Davis knocked down two triples on four attempts after struggling to make shots from downtown over the last two years. The forward said he never lost confidence in his shot, reiterating that a wrist injury limited his ability to score from distance last season.
Also, Davis added he put in a lot of effort over the summer to fix his aim. “I was just trying to get the wrist back to where it is. So it included some of that but that’s all it was,” the forward said.
“It was just getting back completely healthy and getting back to training, kind of include that and get that formation back down and get those reps so the muscle memory will get back to where it was.”
Davis added: “You got to train it to get back to shooting from the perimeter.
“That’s kind of what I was just doing as it was progressing and I feel like I was kind of beating it down to make sure that it has the stamina over the course of the summer. Then take a couple days and let it rest and then kind of doing it over and over. So it was a big part of the summer workouts.”
James downplays rough shooting night
Unlike Davis, James shot poorly on Monday, ending the game 0-for-7 from the field. But the 37-year-old All-Star downplayed his off shooting night, saying conditioning is all he focuses on in the preseason.
“I missed three layups, wide-open layups, a couple of 3s,” James said. “I’ve been 0-for before, but I just played more. I’ve started a game where I’ve been like 0-for-9 before but I’ve played 35-40 minutes, I got an opportunity to get my rhythm — 15 minutes and it was over with [tonight].
“But that’s the last thing on my mind as far as makes or misses.”
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