Anthony Davis was visibly frustrated and upset after the Los Angeles Lakers’ blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves and called out the team for their effort.
It was an embarrassing showing as they completely melted down in the second half, so heading into their matchup against the San Antonio Spurs the Lakers needed to send a message that they were better than that disappointment of a performance. Los Angeles looked like a much more cohesive team against San Antonio and came up with the much-needed win that should hopefully get rid of the bad taste in their mouth.
Davis was clearly not going to let the Lakers get away with coasting as he came out of the gate and went to work in the painted area. The star big man acknowledged that Los Angeles has typically struggled in afternoon games, so he wanted to set the tone early with his play.
“I know that 12 o’clock , 12:30 start is a bit slow,” Davis said. “Our team, we haven’t had many but the one we had I think it was in the preseason was kind of slow. Just knowing myself from the past couple years. It’s a different routine, a different mentality because everything is earlier, a lot earlier.
“I just want to come back and try to dominate the game. Try to do what I can to get the team going. That’s the type of energy you need from your bench, from your star players, from your role players when the game is this early. That’s what I was trying to do, just tried to lead the team the best way I can to try and get this win.”
Davis finished the day with a game-high 34 points and 15 rebounds, adding in six assists, two steals and a block for good measure. He was also an efficient 14-of-24 from the field and finally seemed to break out of his 3-point shooting slump, knocking down two of his three attempts from that distance.
Frank Vogel also discussed what went into Davis’ monster performance, particularly a concerted effort to get him the ball in the painted area.
“That’s what we talked about, just resetting our focus to getting the ball on the post,” Vogel said. “We’re trying to be a moving offense this year and sometimes it doesn’t find it enough. We establish him early in the game. We also worked offensively to be a multiple action offense. After the game the other night, we’re just not getting to the next man well enough.
“I thought all the guys that were out there- Wayne, Malik, Russ, Rondo, Melo even -we’re finding him as a dynamic roller. We just didn’t let things stall us out on the unders, the switches and what not. We’re able to get the ball to him on rolls and the post. Obviously in the second half when they brought extra help on his rolls and double in the post, found shooters on the backside, found Russ at the rim on that one play late. Really did a good job making plays.”
Despite the Lakers underperforming up to this point in the season, Davis has looked like a top-10 player in the NBA and seems to be embracing his responsibility to lift the team as it tries to navigate this stretch without LeBron James.
Davis, of course, has every reason to go out and assert himself on a nightly basis after his injury-riddled 2020-21 campaign and the Lakers will need the same type of effort when they play his hometown Chicago Bulls.
Davis explains why he went off the backboard
Davis had a bevy of highlights against the Spurs, but he came up with the play of the afternoon in the first quarter when he decided to lob it off the backboard to himself for a dunk. After the win, he had a simple explanation for the play.
“I just had nowhere to go with the ball. I’ve done it before like in high school and stuff, but I don’t think I’ve done it before in the league. It’s something that I thought of in the moment. I had nowhere to go with the ball and the shot clock was running down. You just go and see what happens.”
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