Anthony Davis felt so sick on Tuesday night that he asked to have an IV given to him during halftime of the Lakers game against the Denver Nuggets. Despite that, Davis’ flu game was pretty impressive, as he finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block and a Lakers win. But what stood out the most was Davis’ play on the defensive end of the court, something that’s been common all season long.
When Davis was on the court, the Lakers had a defensive rating of 88.6, where as when he was off the court, the Lakers had a defensive rating of 123.8, the lowest on the team. When he was switched onto Jamal Murray, he held him to 1-6 shooting from the field.
But while stats like that are impressive, they don’t shock LeBron James (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“He’s been doing it all year. Playing through injuries, playing through illness like he did tonight,” James said. “He’s the Defensive Player of the Year and he showed it tonight once again. Playing one-on-one versus Joker in the post, when there were switches going on with Jamal Murray playing one-on-one versus a small. He got stop after stop after stop. Just a monster game.”
In the final 3 1⁄2 minutes of the game, Davis made five key plays on Nikola Jokic and Murray, which sealed the win for the Lakers. Let’s take a closer look at how he did it:
Davis contested a team high 18 total shots in the game. And though it may be a little early in the season, stats like that and performances like his game in Denver have already made Davis the clear frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year. His teammates — such as Alex Caruso — have already started their DPOY praises for Davis, and games like last night show why. And if Davis keeps performing like this, it will be more of a shock if he doesn’t win the award then it would be if he does.
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