Lakers News: Anthony Davis Encouraged By Defensive Effort Vs. 76ers
Anthony Davis, Kyle Lowry, Lakers, 76ers
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled defensively for large portions of the 2023-24 season. It has been largely up to all-world defender Anthony Davis to keep L.A. afloat and clean up plenty of messes throughout the campaign.

But the Lakers’ defense came to play on Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, holding them to 94 points. That’s the second-fewest opponent points allowed this season by the Lakers.

It came in a day where the Lakers couldn’t get anything going offensively and needed to rely on their defense. But in past outings, L.A. hasn’t been able to do that with consistency. Davis has been very forthright about the need for the Lakers to improve defensively, so Friday’s win was certainly encouraging for the superstar.

Davis discussed why it’s so important for the Lakers to have the ability to play games like Friday.

“We got to, no matter what happens on the offensive end, we have been able to rely on our defense,” Davis said. “They made some plays, made some shots, we turned it over like 20-plus times tonight. They did their job on the defensive end to turn the ball over, which they’ve been great at since Joel [Embiid] been hurt, but we just stayed locked in defensively to just continue to get stops and then let that fuel our offense.”

The Lakers cemented their victory with a 12-4 run from the 6:41 mark to the 1:34 mark of the fourth quarter. Holding the 76ers to four points in over five minutes was arguably one of their best defensive stretches of the season given the context.

“Yeah, it was a big stretch for us,” Davis said. “I mean, obviously [Tyrese] Maxey is the head of the snake, and we want to get the ball out his hands and make somebody else beat us. Kelly [Oubre] played well tonight. K-Low does what he does and [Nicolas] Batum and Buddy [Hield] and Mo [Bamba].

“You want to get them off the 3-point line and make them play inside and can’t remember who got the contest on Batum, made a pump fake, put it on the floor, and made him take a tough two, and then just playing the transition knowing that they are one of the bottom teams in transition defense. So we just wanted to get a stop, get a rebound and just run.”

Davis would love for the Lakers to lean on their defense even more in the final 12 games of the regular season, as elite defense translates far better to the postseason than elite offense. It would also be hugely helpful as they try to catch the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.

LeBron James: Lakers got the job done vs. 76ers

Lakers star LeBron James praised the team for their ability to lean on their defense when they couldn’t get an offensive rhythm going. And while he put most of that on the three days of rest, he knows the Lakers need to be able to win games in both fashions.

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