The Los Angeles Lakers picked up their fourth straight In-Season Tournament victory in dominant fashion on Tuesday night as they beat the Utah Jazz 131-99. It was the Lakers’ sixth win in seven games and they finished the group stage of the tournament a perfect 4-0.
But perhaps most importantly in Tuesday’s win was the fact that Anthony Davis and LeBron James did not touch the court in the fourth quarter.
With things well in hand, Darvin Ham was able to rest his stars on the night as Davis played just 29 minutes while LeBron played only 24. They were still extremely effective as Davis finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds while James added 17 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
But with a back-to-back on the horizon and the impressive Dallas Mavericks coming into town on Wednesday, Davis felt it was important that he and LeBron could get a little extra rest, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Just knowing that we have another one against a tough opponent tomorrow. Obviously this team plays hard and can shoot the basketball, has a lot of great weapons, but we just wanted to come out and focus on ourselves, especially on the defensive end. We’ve been giving up a lot of transition and second-chance points so we wanted to control that and get some rebounds and get out in transition. So get some rest and line it up tomorrow.”
Davis would continue on, adding that he feels fresher already with being able to sit out the entire fourth quarter:
“It feels good. You’re a little bit fresher. Getting a chance to get an extra 30 minutes of rest, 20 minutes of rest or whatever that time is, especially going into a back-to-back… The good thing is we’re home, get to sleep in my own bed and get some food, don’t have to travel. But it’s a team that’s playing really well coming here tomorrow and it’s gonna be another tough one for us. So to get a chance to be able to sit out the fourth quarter and start preparing for tomorrow feels good.”
If the Lakers plan on picking up their fourth straight win over a very good Dallas team, they will need another performance from Davis like what has been seen the last two games. The Lakers big man pointed to his increased aggression as to what has been driving his play of late:
“Just being aggressive. Playing out of the post, making reads for me and my teammates. I just know that in order for us to be successful, I have to be very aggressive and that’s what I tried to do tonight, the other night, tomorrow, the rest of the season. So just been locked in. Got back in the gym and focused on my shot, the shot wasn’t falling so just getting back to the basics, getting back to the fundamentals, playing hard, playing aggressive and having fun.”
Very few teams have an answer for Davis so when he is locked in and aggressive from the beginning of the game, it greatly benefits the Lakers as a whole. And with the extra rest he and LeBron got on Tuesday, he should be ready for another repeat performance on Wednesday.
Christian Wood constantly asks questions to learn from Lakers teammate Anthony Davis
Davis isn’t only focused on his game on the court, but also being a better leader for the Lakers. One of the players who is constantly at his side looking to learn is Christian Wood who is trying to take any opportunity he can to learn from the Lakers star.
In a recent interview, Wood spoke about how he has always loved Davis’ game and felt the two had some similarities. As such Wood is regularly asking Davis to teach him things and trying to learn from the big man, which will only help Wood’s game overall.
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