Aside from leading the Los Angeles Lakers back into the win column over the Utah Jazz, Anthony Davis managed to join some elite company as the franchise’s first player to score at least 20 points in the first half of 20 games in a single season since Kobe Bryant did it back in 2013.
Davis was coming off a rocky performance in the loss against the Toronto Raptors and was adamant about getting back on track early on. Despite struggling to find his rhythm at first, he ultimately finished with 42 points on 13-of-28 shooting against fellow Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert.
The cherry on top of a memorable night came with the Lakers securing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. It marked a first for the Lakers since the 2009-2010 season. Regardless, Davis seems to understand full well that the job is far from done.
Although Davis is not overlooking the fact that his name will be in the record books alongside Bryant, he feels the only proper way to pay homage to such a legend is to win the championship, via an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols:
“It means a lot to be in a category with him. I just got chills. It’s tough just talking about him, but to be in category with him means a lot. Ik now he’s looking down on us and cheering us on. We want to do it for him. It’s an honor to even be mentioned with his name.”
Getting the opportunity to etch out his place in Lakers lore was part of the mystique that helped draw Davis in to begin with. He has certainly done a stellar job of following through on his high expectations up to this point.
Bryant was never one to relish in lesser accomplishments until the job was finished. It is evident that this approach has resonated with this team following a season of unprecedented circumstances.
Davis taking aggressive approach
The bounce back performance from Davis was just what he needed to get the Lakers clicking on all cylinders heading into the final stretch of the seeding games. While he has maintained that going up against Gobert was not a motivating factor for his aggressive approach, it did show that there are not very many answers for him once he finds a rhythm.
“I have to play better basketball than I did to help the team win. Even though I was making the right plays, I still have to be aggressive. I didn’t like the way I performed, and we didn’t like the way we performed as a team,” Davis said.
“It was a collective effort coming out and being more aggressive. We shot poorly last game but we wanted to come out and just keep shooting, knowing we were going to find our rhythm. I think everybody was more aggressive tonight, hence why we got the win and played a lot better.”
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