The Los Angeles Lakers’ December got off to a rough start after being embarrassed by the Dallas Mavericks, but they rebounded in a big way as they defeated the Denver Nuggets to kickoff their three-game road trip.
The Nuggets came into the matchup right behind the Lakers in the Western Conference standings and boasted the league’s stingiest defense, but Los Angeles was clearly the more disciplined team as they stuck to their game plan and pulled off the impressive win.
Despite feeling under the weather, Anthony Davis put together an outstanding two-way performance as he recorded a double-double of 25 points and and 10 rebounds while playing stellar defense down the stretch.
When asked about the importance of his late-game defense, Davis admitted he has a little more motivation when players try to isolate against him, via Spectrum SportsNet
“I take pride in my defense and anytime late game when guys feel like they can score on me, I take it personal and try to play without fouling and get stops for my team. In those situations, two of their best players… just want to stay home and do what I do best is playing defense and making them take tough shots.”
Nikola Jokic tried to back down Davis in the post on a couple of possessions late in the game, but the latter was able to stand his ground and block one shot while forcing a miss on the other. Jamal Murray also tried his hand at Davis but was unsuccessful as he did a good job of making him alter his attempts in the lane.
Davis’ campaign for 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year has only gotten stronger since the beginning of the season and his performance was yet another example of how dominant he can be when he is not asked to shoulder the offensive load. He is uniquely equipped to handle bigs on the block yet quick and agile enough to hang with guards on the perimeter, a boon for head coach Frank Vogel’s defensive principles.
The purple and gold seemed adamant after their loss to the Mavericks they were able to go the entire 2019-20 NBA season without losing consecutive games and so far, they have been good on that goal.
Although the Lakers get a tough draw with the Utah Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back situation, they seem poised to start another streak after getting such an important win over a fellow Western Conference contender.