Even without LeBron James available, the Los Angeles Lakers remain competitive and it’s allowed them to pick up much-needed wins in the process.
Anthony Davis has stepped up in a big way since his co-star went down to injury and turned in one of his best performances of the 2022-23 season when he led the Lakers to a quality victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon. Davis led all scorers with 39 points but he contributed in every area to carry his teammates over a Warriors squad that came into the afternoon sporting a five-game winning streak.
The star big man was nearly unstoppable on the offensive end, hitting midrange jumpers and finishing over defenders in the painted area. After the game, Davis spoke about his offensive rhythm and his mentality whenever he’s on the floor.
“Very comfortable. Confident as always. It’s good seeing the ball go through. … I’m just trying to do my part. Just being a little bit more aggressive. I’m also trying to make the right plays for our guys, which is going to open up the floor even more for me.”
Darvin Ham had a lot of praise for Davis and attributed his strong play as of late to his physical health and mindset. “First and foremost, he’s playing pain-free in a really great rhythm. We have some really great pieces around him with some guys that he can really play off of at a high level. He’s smiling, he’s fighting through a lot, getting hits to the face, to the arm, scratches, everything. He’s battling through it all and I just feel like, I see it, he’s in a great place right now.”
This recent stretch is arguably the best basketball Davis has played since the Lakers’ 2020 title season. Injuries have taken away from Davis’s ability to dominate games, but it looks like he’s finally past those and is rounding into form at the right time.
Although Davis called the win over Golden State a team effort, he was the driving factor behind it. As long as James remains out, Davis will need to continue playing at this level if Los Angeles stands a chance at making the playoffs.
Darvin Ham acknowledges guys need to step up with LeBron James
While Davis needs to be a superstar each and every night, the Lakers finally have the depth and talent around him to make it work. To that end, Ham acknowledged that the rest of the roster understands they need to step up in James’s absence as well.
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