Avery Bradley and DeMarcus Cousins were in street clothes when the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on Sunday, but they still managed to contribute to the win by being good hype men for Anthony Davis.
According to Davis, Cousins and Bradley urged him to go for a season-high 50 points from the bench.
“Avery was actually the one who told me at halftime, and then on the floor DeMarcus was the one who let me know like every timeout,” Davis said after the game.
It took him nearly 40 minutes to follow their directions, but he did it. For the fourth time in his seven-year career, Davis scored at least 50 points in a game and, best of all, he did it in a Lakers win.
“It was very special to do something like that in front of these great fans, with a historical franchise (and) my teammates. Especially the way we’ve been playing, it was nothing but amazing,” Davis said.
Davis didn’t know know exactly how many points he had, but he knew 50 was within reach by the way his teammates were talking to him at halftime. Of course, Davis’ primary goal was to do whatever he could to help the Lakers to protect their home court and win their fourth straight game, but he admitted he focused on scoring a little more in the second half.
“They weren’t telling me how much I had, but they were saying get 50,” Davis said. “And then... I think I shot a jump shot and missed, and Rondo told me ‘you need one more bucket.’
“Usually I don’t really pay attention, I just go out there and play try to get the win. But it’s hard when your teammates are just constantly reminding you, ‘alright go get 50, go get 50.’ They made sure I was constantly reminded.”
Davis also said going up against another young, talented big man in Karl-Anthony Towns played a role in his monster night. Unfortunately — for the Timberwolves, at least — Towns didn’t reciprocate that effort.
Everyone that was wearing a Lakers uniform on Sunday night was celebrating Davis’ 50-point outburst, but the team’s head coach, Frank Vogel, was more impressed with his effort on the defensive end.
“First thing that sticks out to me is he had 4 steals, a block, and great defense for all 39 minutes he was out there,” Vogel said. “To be able to perform on that end of the floor and anchor us and then still go for 50 in what I feel like is an old-school, smash-mouth way of getting 50, no threes. 20 for 29 and then living at the free throw line, post ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those types of things. Just an old school performance and one for the ages.”
With teammates like James and Rajon Rondo that know where Davis likes the ball, it’s not out of the question that he’ll put up 50 again this season. If that moment comes, you can bet on his teammates getting in his ear again.