After a grueling loss to the Portland Trail Blazers that dropped them to the seventh seed, the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back in a big way by coming up with a 123-110 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.
The Lakers were without Kyle Kuzma as he was ruled out with lower back tightness, but the team won due to their collective size and physicality in the frontcourt. Los Angeles outrebounded Phoenix 41-32, but more impressively won the offensive rebounding battle 14-3. The Lakers were also hot from the outside, draining 13-of-30 attempts which was good for 43% on the night.
However, the difference in the game was Anthony Davis as he followed up his performance against the Portland Trail Blazers with another dominant outing. Davis finished the night with 42 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks in 41 minutes of action. The 28-year old continues to resemble his elite self and he believes that he and the team are finally getting back into a groove.
I feel good. I’m getting my legs back, I’m getting my rhythm back,” Davis said after the win. “I’m getting my steps back on both ends of the floor, so I feel good. I’m getting better each game, I’m getting my wind back each game. So we’re in the right direction.”
Davis added that the way his legs are feeling is how he knows he’s close to being back to his full self.
“I think it’s just the legs. I’m getting my legs back, so my legs aren’t as heavy during the game and as the game goes on. … I think it’s just getting the rhythm back in legs is most important and they’re starting to come back around.”
It’s no secret that the last few months have been challenging for Davis and the Lakers. He is embracing that though and believes the team is better for it.
“It’s been fun. We were a great team last year and I think this is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve run into a challenge. This is a different challenge for us. Since I’ve been here, we’ve never been less than three maybe, so this is new for us. This is different for us and I think our entire team has taken on that challenge and tackling it head-on.
“We got that mindset where we control what we can control. Go out there, do what we do and play [Los Angeles] Lakers basketball and let the rest take care of itself. It’s fun. It’s a challenge for us and every challenge we can’t shy away from it. We got to have fun with it.”
For the second consecutive game, Davis showed the NBA what he is capable of doing on any given night as he nearly single-handedly delivered the Lakers their win. Phoenix had absolutely no answer for Davis with him torching them from the perimeter and inside the paint, using an array of moves to either score or get to the foul line.
Davis went 13-of-27 from the field and knocked down 15 of his 17 free throw attempts, displaying just how offensively gifted he is.
With just four games left in the 2020-21 season, the Purple and Gold appear to be rounding into form and it could not have come at a better time.
Vogel praises Davis for performance against Suns
Head coach Frank Vogel had to be ecstatic with what he saw from his superstar as Davis looked like the two-way force that led the Lakers to their 2020 NBA Championship. Vogel did not need many words to describe how he felt about Davis’ performance against the Suns.
“All that other stuff is just trying to patch it together while we’re getting our stars back healthy and with their legs under them and timing up to speed. You see Anthony just getting a little bit stronger every game. A little bit more in rhythm every game and just a sensational performance by Anthony tonight.”
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