The San Antonio Spurs came into the game tied with the Lakers for first in the Western Conference, but Los Angeles now sits atop the standings after their impressive victory.
LeBron James led the way with his second consecutive triple-double while Davis continued his dominance on both ends of the floor. The All-Star duo have proven to be a handful for their opponents every night and this trend should continue as they get more reps together.
Los Angeles has built their identity around their defense and Davis explained why it has been their focus, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s our mindset. We understand if we play defense we’re very hard to beat. Obviously, we still have a lot to work on offensively, but we try to make sure we strive on defense every game and if we’re able to do that then, we’re a tough team to beat. I think it’s three or four games where we held the opponent under 100 and that’s some great offensive teams.
But we try to lay our heads down on defense and if we’re able to do that game in and game out then we wanna be the best defensive team in the league and we’ll be tough to beat.”
Head coach Frank Vogel is well-regarded in the league for his defensive acumen and it is apparent they have taken well to his philosophies as they are decisively winning games with their effort on that end of the floor. Davis and James have repeatedly spoken about the importance of playing defense and their buy-in has trickled down to the rest of the roster where everyone is competing and communicating on each possession.
Head coach Gregg Popovich’s teams have historically been efficient offensive units, but the Lakers leveraged their size and length effectively, making it difficult for them to find many clean looks throughout the night. There were stretches during the game where the team’s defense absolutely suffocated them and allowed them to get out in transition.
Davis himself is making a strong case for the 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award given his impact on that end and he should have another strong showing when he and the rest of the team take on a struggling Chicago Bulls team.