It would not have been surprising to see the Los Angeles Lakers falter a bit on one of their toughest road trips scheduled during the 2019-20 NBA season, but they exceeded expectations after blowing out the Portland Trail Blazers and sweeping the three-game trip.
Anthony Davis was brilliant in the contest as he finished with 39 points on 12-of-21 shooting while also disrupting Portland’s offense by adding three blocks and two steals.
Davis’ defense has been the talk of the Lakers season so far as his impact on that end has saved them multiple times late in games, but the game against the Blazers was encouraging as he continued the offensive upswing he has been on.
The 26-year-old discussed what has helped his turnaround on that end, via Spectrum SportsNet:
Just gotten into a rhythm. Figuring out where I’m going to get most of my shots from, what sets I’m gonna get most of my shots from. Just about energy, playing hard. That’s really it. Just taking my time, having that confidence in my game.
But it’s really just a rhythm. I was out of rhythm… I don’t wanna say out of rhythm, I was trying to find a rhythm early in the season. And I had some good games, but I wasn’t shooting too well from the floor. And then ever since the day when me and Rondo played one-on-one in the facility, I kinda found a rhythm there and was able to carry that throughout the rest of the season so far. So for me, just trying to stay in a rhythm.
Early on in the season, head coach Frank Vogel opted to use Davis as more of a traditional big, posting him up often and letting him try to create on his own. However, Vogel and the coaching staff have done a better job of getting Davis the ball in various ways, either off pick-and-roll actions or getting him to pop beyond the three-point line.
Davis has also improved his perimeter shooting as he largely struggled to connect on jumpers to start the season, perhaps due to a thumb injury he suffered in the 2019 NBA preseason. On the team’s road trip, he looked more comfortable shooting the ball from midrange and beyond which also helped open up the rest of his offensive repertoire.
With Davis finding his groove on offense while providing excellent defense, the purple and gold may just have another extra gear they can hit.
The sky is the limit for this iteration of the Lakers and it will be exciting to see how much they progress as the season continues.