Anthony Davis is blossoming at the perfect time as the superstar big man put together another dominance performance in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, helping lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory over the Miami Heat and moving closer to his first championship.
Coming into the series Davis was considered the key for the Lakers as the Heat have no one on the roster who is capable of limiting him. Bam Adebayo is their best answer, but he was forced to sit out after suffering a neck injury in Game 1.
Without Adebayo, Miami predictably struggled to contain Davis who went off for 32 points and 14 rebounds, with most of his damage coming in the painted area. The Heat frontcourt gave up 16 offensive rebounds to the Lakers, with Davis accounting for eight of them.
Despite this being his first Finals appearance, Davis has not shied away from the moment and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel believes the star is already displaying the right mentality.
“His mindset is he wants to be a champion, and he’s extremely motivated to play at a high level and you’re seeing it every time he steps on to the floor,” Vogel said.
“Obviously defensively, he’s a unicorn, in my opinion, Defensive Player of the Year. But his shot making, the many ways that he can hurt you offensively in the post, throwing to the basket, working the baseline like he did against the zone, working the middle, shooting threes from the perimeter is just very unique.
“You can just see his determination to win this championship on both sides of the ball. I thought tonight you saw even more on the offensive end.”
The high praise from Vogel is well-deserved as Davis has arguably been the team’s best player throughout the postseason. His unique skillset on offense and his versatility on defense makes him incredibly difficult to game plan for, and he has been the clear difference in each series so far.
In Game 2, Davis had no issues cleaning up misses near the basket and supplemented that with his midrange jumper. Davis was particularly effective in the third quarter where he was able to knock down several consecutive jump shots that helped the Lakers maintain their solid lead.
Davis was not pleased with how the team closed out Game 1, and they responded Friday. However, there is always room for improvement and it will be interesting to see how they come out in Game 3.
Davis playing with confidence
Davis has long been considered a top-5 talent in the NBA, but he is finally making good on that evaluation in the playoffs. The Lakers have empowered him to play like the superstar he is, which Davis credited he roster for.
“Having a team like this, a coaching staff like this and a guy like ‘Bron and Rondo and JR and Markieff, who always instills confidence into me — I saw an article of Markieff saying, he brought up the best player we have, LeBron,” Davis said.
“He tells me before every game, every game says Markieff before I go on the court, he always says, ‘You’re the best player in the world.’ Having a guy constantly tell you that, it gives you enough confidence to go out there and just play with the swag that you know you have.
“When you have guys always talking to you in your ear about greatness and seeing ‘Bron, how great he is and the things he does on the floor, and guys on our team, as well, who do great things on the floor, it makes you want to be better, it makes you want to fit in with that group.”
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