Anthony Davis made his return from injury on Monday night and he wasn’t as impactful as he wanted to be for his team. In 37:49 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Davis scored just 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. Last season, Davis only had five games where he scored less than 15 points, and he played less than 30 minutes in all but two of them.
Davis was still a positive in the box score (+5) because of his defense and his playmaking from the post, but he left the game feeling like he could have done more offensively.
“I’ve got to score the ball,” Davis said after the Lakers’ loss on Monday. “It’s as simple as that. Obviously I was trying to make plays and find my rhythm with the team, especially since they played so well yesterday —you never want to come back where guys are force feeding you and trying to get you the ball so you can make shots. I tried to find my rhythm back into the system, but I’ve got to be more aggressive, just go out there and score the basketball. It’s as simple as that: whatever it takes to win a game.
“We had some guys going early: Kenny makes a couple threes, Dennis got going to the basket, and every time I got the ball they were trying to double team, and I just tried to make the right plays ... I had a slow start, but at the end of the day I can’t let that affect how I continue to play, and I’ve just got to continue to score the ball.”
Despite Davis’s slow start, the Lakers led by as much as 13 points in the first quarter. The second quarter is when Davis’s offensive struggles became a problem. Outside of Dennis Schröder, who went 4-of-5 from the field in the second quarter, the Lakers couldn’t get their shots to fall, and Davis didn’t do anything to improve their situation.
In the 7:12 he played in the second quarter, Davis attempted just one field goal and missed it. He ended the first half with just 2 points in four field goal attempts. A lot of that had to do with the way the Trail Blazers were defending him, but Frank Vogel thinks the Lakers — himself included —could have done more on their part too.
“I think it really starts with the group,” Vogel said. “We just weren’t moving the ball that well. I’ve got to make sure I get him the ball in opportunities where he can be aggressive because when we do that we know he’s aggressive and carries a big load for us. It’s really on the group.”
The second half was significantly better for Davis, as he scored 11 points on 50% shooting from the field, but by then, the Lakers had already given the Trail Blazers the confidence they needed to complete their comeback. Vogel’s hoping Monday’s performance is one they can learn from as a team.
“It was just one of those nights where we were stuck in mud a little bit. I don’t know if it’s because we played last night, or whatever, but after we came out of the gates, we just had trouble sustaining that energy and intensity.”
The Lakers will try and bounce back against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.