The Los Angeles Lakers dropped to 0-1 on the new season with a 119-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Tuesday’s season opener. Anthony Davis, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds on the night, was completely shut out in the second half, not scoring a single point as the Nuggets worked to secure a victory on their championship ring night.
One relatively consistent criticism of Davis is his tendency to disappear on the offensive end for large sections of a game. But with the Lakers entering the 2023-24 season boasting championship expectations, Davis needs to be his dominant self as often as possible, meaning zero-point halves cannot happen.
Davis spoke about his performance in the second half and what the Nuggets did to make life difficult on him, as well as what the adjustment might be as the season progresses, via NBA.com:
“They started double-teaming. They were trying to crowd the paint. I missed some easy little layups around the rim and little jumpers. Just trying to make the right play, kick it out to our guys. If I’m doubled, kick it out. Rui [Hachimura] had an open 3, Gabe [Vincent] had open 3s. They just didn’t fall. But I got to shoot it more.”
The Nuggets are obviously one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NBA. Of course, they are going to make smart adjustments that have the ability to stifle an opposing team. However, Davis is simply too good a player to be held scoreless for an entire half, even if he is prioritizing getting his teammates involved.
It wasn’t a particularly good game for anyone on the Lakers besides maybe the efficient LeBron James and Taurean Prince. But Davis cannot continue to disappear for these long stretches if the Lakers are going to not just be competitive, but be one of the league’s best teams.
James not upset at playing 29 minutes in opener
Another surprising stat from the opener was James playing only 29 minutes when the game was in reach as late as midway through the fourth quarter. However, this was an intended game plan from head coach Darvin Ham, who is trying to preserve James as much as possible so he can make it to the postseason healthy.
James was not surprised or upset by Ham’s decision, saying that he is going to stick to the game plan he’s presented, even if he’d prefer to be on the court longer.
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!