Lakers News: Anthony Davis Explains What Changed For Him In Monster Second Half Against Suns
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves ahead at halftime against the Phoenix Suns despite not getting much offensively from Anthony Davis. The big man had just seven points in the first half, but thanks to the aggression and strong play from Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder, the Lakers went into the locker room up by seven.

The third quarter was a completely different story, however, as Davis dominated with 14 points while attempting more shots than he did the entire first half. Davis would ultimately finish with a team-high 27 points in the Lakers 11-point win over the Suns and he credited the team’s strong guard play for opening things up for him in that third.

“Just knowing how big of a game this was. Just trying to get myself going in the first half,” Davis said afterward. “Not that I wasn’t looking for my shots, but you know, the plays just Austin [Reaves] getting fouled or getting a shot. Dennis [Schroder] and D-Lo.

“And then the second half, it’s just by them being aggressive in the first half, it just kind of opened up for me the third quarter, and was able to take advantage of opportunities. Just trying to do what I do and kind of open up the game for them a little bit before. It was a great team win.”

Davis definitely had an extra spark in that second half, throwing down some absolutely monster dunks and he understands his aggression truly helps the team as a whole. “I don’t care if it’s a dunk or whatever, I just want to be able to put the ball in the basket and do what I have to do to help the team,” Davis added.

“Being more aggressive, like I was in the third quarter, you know, helps. … Early on, got some good looks. I feel like the game was going for everybody else. And then third quarter, it was more like, AD this is your turn. It’s your time now, so go ahead. … It kind of worked out for us.”

Head coach Darvin Ham had previously spoken about working to give Davis more looks and the Lakers big man believes a combination of that and his own aggression sparked his big third quarter. “A little bit of both. I mean, we made an effort to kind of call my plays, basically the whole third quarter,” Davis noted. “Different looks to give me the ball when they couldn’t double. And then it was me just like, ‘Alright, now just go score.’

“Coaching staff and the other four players on the floor were doing a good job of putting me in situations to be effective, and now it’s my job to be effective. So it’s a little bit of both my mindset is coming out being aggressive at the half and then also coach, and even our point guards Dennis [Schroder] DLo, AR will also, anytime on the defensive end and they score or rebound. They slow it down, ‘Alright AD, what you want?” And we get into it and make a play out of it.”

Whatever the reasoning is, the Lakers’ best chance at success is when Anthony Davis is aggressive and dominant and everyone wants to ensure that remains the case every night.

Darvin Ham discusses how Anthony Davis being aggressive benefits rest of the Lakers

For his part, Ham also made note of the combination of him calling more plays, and Davis’ own aggression making the difference.

“Nah, his dumbass coach just started calling his plays more, calling his number more [laughs],” Ham said when asked if he had a message for Davis at halftime. “But no, he and I have talked and I told him that I’m gonna force-feed him and just be aggressive.

“Don’t worry about it, just be aggressive going to the rim and he did that tonight. He had a swagger about him, he wasn’t settling. He’s one of the best midrange shooters I’ve ever been around, more than capable of knocking down 3s, but again, he was loving and living in the paint tonight and that’s the AD we need.”

Ham would then continue on, noting how Davis’ aggression makes a huge difference and helps out the rest of the team.
“That’s aggression and him forcing his will, knowing they can’t guard him, forcing them to foul him, it speeds up the process of us getting into the bonus and that helps everyone else,” Ham added.

“So now, it’s a blocking foul out on the perimeter and Austin gets to go to the free throw line. DLo, Dennis, Beas, these guys have been struggling a little bit with their jump shot, they get to see a couple go in and hopefully, we missed 10 free throws tonight, but hopefully they get to see their shot go in and it helps boost their confidence. It just has a ripple effect up and down the roster.”

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