Anthony Davis made sure his first-ever NBA Finals appearance would be a memorable one as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-98 victory over the Miami Heat.
The seven-time All-Star put on an extraordinary, all-around performance in Game 1, finishing the night with 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists. From his stellar defense to dominance in the paint, to even 3-point shooting (making 2-of-4), Davis made his presence felt pretty much everywhere on the floor, showing the full spectrum of his skillset.
And his performance will forever be part of L.A. history. Davis joined an elite group of franchise legends with the best scoring performances in their Lakers debut in the NBA Finals. His 34-point game tied Elgin Baylor’s for third-most on the list.
Shaquille O’Neal ranks first with 43 points, while George Mikan is second with 42. “It’s a great honor to be in that category with those guys,” Davis said.
“They have done so much for the game, Hall of Famers, and for me to come out and perform that way and be mentioned with those guys, especially just as a Laker, with the biggest franchise in basketball, them guys that you watch film on but you idolize, and now that, like you say, to be in that category, is definitely a huge honor for me.”
Although Davis welcomes the accomplishment, he added winning remains his main goal. “I also want to be mentioned in categories with champions, so that’s the next step,” he said.
“But the accolades along the way, a list I’m able to join along the way is definitely something you don’t think about. It just kind of happens when you go out there and play, but it’s definitely a great honor.”
Vogel heaps praise on Davis after Game 1
Following Davis’ Game 1 eruption, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel spoke about the growth the All-Star registered in his first season in L.A.
Vogel highlighted the forward’s improvement in perimeter shooting and underlined his defense, calling Davis “a Jack of all trades” on that end.
“He really just impacts both sides of the ball, and obviously the bigger the moment, he’s just raising his play,” Vogel said.
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