The Anthony Davis era in Los Angeles got off to a roaring start on Saturday, as the Lakers rand the Golden State Warriors out of their new arena 123-101 behind an incredible first half performance by the 26-year-old forward.
In 18:25 minutes, Davis scored a team-high 22 points on 56.3 percent shooting from the field, 10, rebounds, two assists and a block. For most players that’s a great night; for Davis it was a good half.
Davis only played in the first half, as did James, who tallied 15 points, a team-high eight assists, three rebounds and a steal in 17:59. When they shared the floor together, the Lakers looked incredible.
AD out here trying to tear down the rim in Game 1 pic.twitter.com/Hcgx2vx8sp— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 6, 2019
When they weren’t, the team looked like they were still getting used to each other — because they are.
Vogel did a good job of staggering James and Davis in the first half, but the lineups he chose to stagger them with were questionable. For example, while lineups with Rondo and Davis looked fine, lineups with Rondo and James looked awkward, and not in spite of Rondo.
Going forward, it would be wise for Vogel to stagger James’ minutes with a “3-and-D” type of point guard like Alex Caruso, who posted a team-high box plus-minus +17 off the bench after not playing in the first half. Bradley is also a good theoretical fit next to James, but he only played 12:41 against the Warriors despite getting the starting nod.
Troy Daniels also looked strong with the second unit, leading all bench scorers with 14 points on 6-11 shooting from the field, including 2-6 shooting from 3-point territory. Considering Daniels was brought off the bench before Caruso, Vogel might see a bigger role for him with the Lakers than most anticipated. As long as he’s knocking down 3-pointers, that shouldn’t be an issue.
The Lakers will hop on a plane to China within the coming days for two preseason games against the Brooklyn Nets. The first one will take place in Shanghai on Oct. 10.