The Los Angeles Lakers’ third preseason game had a little extra excitement as it marked the first action for superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Davis wasted no time in getting re-acclimated as he quickly knocked down a fadeaway jumper on his way to 10 points, four rebounds, a steal and one block in just 18 minutes.
Davis took just four shots, hitting three of them while also going 4-for-6 from the free throw line as the Lakers continued their perfect preseason with a 112-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Neither Davis or James saw the court in the second half, but it wasn’t due to lack of conditioning as Davis even surprised himself with where he was at.
“I felt great, honestly,” Davis said. “Coming in I thought I was going to be a little winded. You can try to get in shape all you want but it’s nothing like basketball and game shape. I was kind of hesitant about that, but I felt fine. I could’ve played more; will probably play more Friday. Physically, I felt fine.”
Vogel has been open about his plans for his two stars as they will both likely play into the second half in the team’s final preseason game in order to get them ready for the upcoming season opener against the L.A. Clippers.
That night will mark the beginning of the Lakers’ title defense, and Davis believes the additions to the roster will help the team continue with its defensive identity established last season.
“Marc, a former DPOY. Got Dennis, who is a pest on the ball and picking up 94 feet. Wes, who is a bulldog,” Davis said. “We’re trying to figure things out defensively still. We’re still learning each other, new guys are still learning rotations and things like that, but we picked it up.”
“Guys are starting to figure each other out on both ends of the floor. Coach doesn’t take it lightly when we mess up on defense, and we take pride in ourselves defensively, as you guys saw last year. Nothing changed this year. We’re going to continue to figure it out and get better.”
Davis cites injury history as reason for 5-year contract
Davis, of course, re-signed with the Lakers on a five-year maximum contract that came as a surprise to some. Many expected him to sign a two-year deal in order to reach 10 years of NBA service and qualify him for an even bigger max deal.
“It’s a great organization. I just felt like that was the best option for me. And I had to think about the reality of things, too. I do have a little history with injuries. A two-year deal, you kind of bet on yourself,” Davis recently explained.
“God forbid, knock on wood, something happens and things like that. I wanted to secure the most amount of years possible and be here long term with the team, so I thought the five-year deal was best for me and my situation.”
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!