Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis has often been criticized this season for a seeming lack of consistent effort from game to game. But with LeBron James finally healthy and the Lakers sporting a near-fully healthy lineup, Davis shined in a big way on Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls.
Davis finished with 38 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. He shot 13-of-20 from the field and, almost more importantly, made 11 of his 14 free throws. He was a plus-16 in the Lakers 11-point victory over the Bulls.
That was coming off a subpar performance from Davis the game before against the very same Bulls in which he took just eight shots in a loss.
James, who has always been able to get the best out of Davis when they share the floor, praised Davis while attempting to quiet some of the criticism that he has faced throughout this season for his lack of consistency, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Oh, he always plays like that. You’ve just got to kick him in the ass every now and then. But he always plays like that so I never worry about him. He’s one of the most dynamic players that we have in our league, especially when he’s shooting the ball like that, shooting from the perimeter. He was able to knock down a three too. That kind of opens up space. It just makes him even more unguardable and it helps the rest of the team. And for us, as the supporting cast, we just do our job and try to find him early and often, late and often, and go from there.”
Part of the criticism surrounding Davis is that he doesn’t do enough to get the ball in his hands. He averages significantly fewer touches per game than some of the elite centers around the league like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. But as James mentions, a lot of that is on him and the other distributors.
If James, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder and other ball-handlers can forcibly get Davis more involved, it’s likely we see more games like this from the All-NBA level big man. Davis’ last 12 games have been filled with ups and downs.
He has eight games with 25 or more points, but the other four included a 17-point outing, two 15-point games and an eight-point game. Still, he’s averaging 27.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over that span while shooting 58.6% from the field and 40.0% from three.
Davis believes Lakers can make a run in postseason
The Lakers still have six must-win games before they can think about the postseason, but it seems Davis has early confidence in the team’s ability to compete in the Western Conference. He recently said that he believes the Lakers have everything they need to go on a run.
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