Although LeBron James has missed the past two games due to an adductor strain, the Los Angeles Lakers have managed to string together back-to-back wins.
The Lakers have been able to survive without James largely in part to Anthony Davis who looks more and more like his superstar self. In their most recent win against the Detroit Pistons, Davis exploded for a season-high 38 points as he simply got anything he wanted in the painted area.
Head coach Darvin Ham said pregame that Davis made it a point to be aggressive as he looks to reestablish himself as one of the best players in the NBA, revealing a cool story from before the season.
“He’s definitely getting stronger, the back is getting stronger. He’s getting more forceful in terms of pushing the issue in terms of being that threat, that initial threat. He’s been playing very, very well in my opinion. He wants that. It’s funny because he came into my office before the season even started and wrote on my little dry-erase board ‘2022-23: throw the ball to AD.’ That’s what he wrote on the board so we’re gonna hold him to that.
“He’s been responding really, really well, doing everything from post-ups to playing in pick-and-rolls and offensive rebounding, getting to the line. He doesn’t pay attention to it but he hears some of the chatter out there and he wants to get back to where he’s in that discussion about top five best in the league. And he’s putting in the work to get himself there.”
Because of injuries, fans and media have begun to question how productive Davis can be. So far during the 2022-23 season, Davis has done well to quiet his critics even though he has been dealing with a nagging back injury.
Against the Pistons, the big man didn’t look like he was ailing because he played with force in the painted area. Detroit had no answers for him, especially in the fourth quarter where he took over offensively and delivered Los Angeles the much-needed win.
“It’s great. There’s no better way to get yourself than really being aggressive towards the rim and in the paint whether it’s post-ups, rolling hard in the pick-and-roll, offensive rebounding or just getting to the paint driving,” Ham said after Davis’ dominant night. “AD was great in the half-roll tonight in the pick-and-roll. They double-teamed him a ton whenever he would isolate in the post or whatever, fronting him and throwing different double-team schemes at him. But he stayed the course and stayed aggressive. 21 free throws, that’s wonderful and for him to knock 18 of them down. Just his presence, he’s been a big force for us all year and tonight was no different.”
James should be able to return to the lineup soon, but this version of Davis is exactly what the Purple and Gold need to turn their season around.
Anthony Davis offers insight into spirited film session
Prior to their win against the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers apparently had an emotional film room session where several players voiced their opinions on the team’s woes. Davis provided some insight into the conversation and eventually credited it for helping the roster get back on track.
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