The Los Angeles Lakers had high hopes for the season after they managed to pair three-time champion LeBron James with one of the league’s best big men Anthony Davis last summer. The expectations were not only to end the seven-year playoff drought but to take it all and bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to L.A.
Many have speculated whether Davis is the most talented player James has played with during his illustrious career. The All-Star duo clicked immediately and the Lakers became a dominant force in the Western Conference this season, surprising even their head coach Frank Vogel how quickly the team gelled.
Davis is a transcendent talent and arguably a top-five player in the NBA who also is in his prime. Therefore, it was likely his arrival in L.A. would transform the Lakers into title contenders.
But James has won his rings alongside some of the NBA’s best talent — Dwayne Wade and Kyrie Irving to name a couple — making it tricky to pinpoint his best teammate ever. “I’ve had the luxury of playing with some great players, and that’s just three of them,” he said of Wade, Irving, and Davis.
“A.D. is one of those unicorns and he does things that some of my other great teammates are not capable of doing,” James added.
James quickly noted that Irving and Wade had their own unique set of skills that Davis might not possess. But he recognized Davis being extraordinary in his own right. “To be able to go out and orchestrate the offense, orchestrate the tempo and get it to A.D. and let us run our offense through him, is a luxury for myself as much for our team,” James said.
Davis showed the full spectrum of his offensive repertoire in the Game 2 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. He became the first Laker ever to record 30 points and 10 rebounds in fewer than 30 minutes since the introduction of the shot clock era.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a brilliant night himself and sank four of the six 3s he attempted. That allowed James to take a secondary role as the Lakers steamrolled Portland to tie the series.
But the 16-time All-Star had no problems ending the game with 10 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. “I play no pressure basketball,” he said. “If I get an opportunity to take shots or get a lane, I take advantage of them. Tonight didn’t call for me to do much offensively or force much.”
James consoled Davis after Game 1 loss
James and Davis have bonded on and off the court and the former was there for his younger teammate after a disappointing loss to the Blazers in the playoff opener.
Davis finished the game with 28 points and 11 rebounds but could not help L.A. bounce back from Portland’s late run and missed two crucial free throws down the line.
“I was really down on myself after Game 1,” Davis said. “I didn’t feel like I performed to the level I needed to. He let me have a moment and kind of get on myself, and then he talked to me and said I was fine.”
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