Anthony Davis struggled early on in the 107-104 win over the Dallas Mavericks, returning to the lineup off a two-game break caused by knee soreness.
Davis threw up two airballs, committed five turnovers and shot just 1-for-5 from the field in the first half, with his performance suggesting he needed time to regain the rhythm on offense. However, the forward said the Mavericks’ effort to double-team him every time he appeared on the floor in the first two quarters heavily contributed to his struggles.
“No, I just adjusted to their defensive schemes against me,” Davis said, asked if his limited offensive contribution was tied to his break from basketball.
“They were doubling every time I caught the ball in the post and when we threw a little pocket pass, another defender was right there in my lap so I couldn’t get the shot up. But just figuring out their schemes throughout the course of the game, figuring out ways to beat them and to get shots.
“Talking with Bron, Russ, and Do, Melo, just figuring out ways to keep the ball moving and get some good looks. I was able to get that in the third quarter, got going, and then in the overtime made some shots. But just trying to figure out their scheme, obviously we know J. Kidd and what he likes to do so we knew he was gonna throw some stuff at us and we were able to defeat it and look at all the reads we had on the offensive end and pick it apart.”
Seeing he isn’t able to get buckets, Davis focused on helping the Lakers battle the Mavericks on the glass — ending the night with 12 rebounds. Head coach Frank Vogel lauded the forward for finding other ways to contribute while he was unable to make an impact on offense.
Vogel added the Lakers could have used Dallas’ strategy against them to a greater extent, lessening the pressure on Davis.
“Yeah, they definitely did that,” the head coach said of the Mavericks’ double-teams on Davis. “They were intent on not letting Anthony play and we didn’t punish the double-teams well enough. We’ve grown a lot throughout the course of this year, really getting layups at the front of the rim, backside threes, we just were a little bit off with our execution of those. But he found other ways. Anthony Davis at his core is a guy that can dominate the game with defensive rebounding.
“The scoring is gonna be there, it’s gonna come and go, especially when you have a lot of firepower like we do on this team, but tonight he had 12 defensive rebounds and they were all dirty rebounds. There was a lot of traffic in there and he’s up there snatching it and getting us those possessions. And obviously what he does on the defensive side of the ball was a big part of his +21 plus-minus.”
Davis’ offense picked up in the second half and he eventually ended up with 20 points to his name.
Davis’ knee is ‘structurally intact’
Vogel initially didn’t know the extent of Davis’ knee injury. However, he received an update on the forward’s health earlier this week with an MRI showing no structural damage in the forward’s leg earlier.
“They did an ultrasound on it,” Vogel said. “Everything is structurally intact.”
Vogel then added he would keep Davis out of the rotation for the would-be win over the Orlando Magic out of caution, extending his break from the court to two games.
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