Despite a lackluster showing at the beginning of the game, the Los Angeles Lakers pulled together a solid defensive showing in the second half and cruised past the Charlotte Hornets, 120-101.
Charlotte proved to be a friskier team than expected as they came out of the gates shooting, exposing some of the same defensive lapses Los Angeles has struggled to address in the first couple games of the 2019-20 NBA season. However, they went cold after the first half as the Lakers made a more concerted effort to close out on shooters and get a hand up to contest.
Anthony Davis led Los Angeles in scoring as he poured in 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting. However, Davis also managed to go 3-of-5 from the three-point line, a welcomed sight given how much the current NBA values bigs who can stretch the floor.
Davis discussed the impact his outside shooting had in the win against the Hornets.
“I was due for one. Coach and assistant coaches and all the players tell me just keep shooting and really it’s a matter of just not overthinking it and just letting it fly,” Davis shared.
“And then when I’m able to shoot the ball like that, it opens up the floor for guys… for their drives and it makes the defense respect me now from the three and we got a lot of good looks.”
The All-Star player had yet to hit on any of his three-point attempts prior to the game but seemed confident when shooting them against Charlotte.
Davis’ struggles from the perimeter could perhaps be attributed to a thumb sprain he suffered in the 2019 NBA preseason against the Brooklyn Nets, but his jumper looked better as the ball appeared to smoothly come out of his hands.
The five attempts from downtown are encouraging because as Davis mentioned, this creates a lot more pressure on the opposing defense as they now have to worry about him either shooting or putting the ball on the floor and making a play for either himself or a teammate. He has already shown he has improved as a playmaker and his versatility on the offensive end creates more looks for head coach Frank Vogel to work with.
As the season continues, it would be in the purple and gold’s best interest to ensure that Davis’ three-point volume sees a healthy uptick as it could be the key in unlocking the team’s offense. If three-point shooting becomes a regular part of Davis’ game, he could make a strong case as the most unguardable player in the league.