The Los Angeles Lakers are officially a quarter of the way done with the 2020-21 season and find themselves atop the NBA standings at 14-4. They are ahead of schedule considering the fact that the team is still integrating all the new additions from the offseason, while LeBron James and Anthony Davis are ramping up.
Davis in particular has uncharacteristically had an up and down stretch recently as he has not found the same magic scoring the basketball. In Los Angeles’ win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Davis scored only 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
He missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc, but did bounce back at three line (7-of-9). Despite some of those struggles, the 27-year-old was key in the fourth quarter as he nearly single-handedly shut down the Cavs offense.
“I pick it up more defensively,” Davis said of his focus when not in rhythm offensively. “I try to offensive rebound, try to set good screens to get other guys open. I just try to do the other things that maybe don’t show up in the box score.
“I try to find other ways to impact the game and let the offensive side just come naturally.”
Davis is notably hard on himself, particularly so after the Lakers won against the Milwaukee Bucks. For most players, an off night for Davis is a solid game for them, which speaks to his talent.
Against Cleveland, Davis looked off balance on several of his shots from the perimeter and appeared visibly frustrated when trying to force the issue. Despite that, the big man made up for it on the defensive end where he racked up three steals and three blocks.
One sequence that stood was under the two-minute mark of the game where he walled off Colin Sexton’s drive and immediately blocked Andre Drummond’s shot at the rim.
Plays like that are a prime example of how Davis can dominate games without scoring. He will need to keep that kind of effort and energy because the Lakers draw a tough test when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Davis does not need to carry as heavy of scoring burden
Davis led the Lakers in scoring for the 2019-20 season, but he has been able to defer with a more talented roster flanking him and James. Against the Cavaliers for example, James led the way with 46 points but three other Lakers scored in double-figures.
Davis is more than capable of carrying the team when needed, but so far it looks like they can lift him up as well.
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