Friday night’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers was a gut punch for the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only did their loss drop them to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, but it also gave the Trail Blazers the edge in the tiebreaker. There was one positive takeaway from Friday night’s game, though: Anthony Davis.
In 39 minutes against Portland, Davis tallied 36 points — one short of his season-high — 12 rebounds, 5 assists and an emphatic block that nearly changed the momentum of the game in the Lakers’ favor. As Kyle Kuzma put it, he played “like AD.”
“I think tonight was probably one of this better games since he’s been back,” Kuzma said of Davis after the game. “He did a good job just being confident out there wit his movements. I think that’s the No. 1 thing we want to see out of him: moving, getting to the rim offensively but being the beast that he is defensively. We saw a little bit of that today.”
Frank Vogel echoed Kuzma’s sentiment about Davis but he added that he thinks Davis still has plenty of room to improve.
“He’s getting a little bit stronger each game,” Vogel said. “It’s a very encouraging sign. I still think he has a ways to go until he’s back to really having his rhythm and timing and legs under him, but he had a terrific performance tonight; it’s just as a group, we fell short.”
Davis looked like he was much further away from his superstar form earlier this week, when he scored just 12 points in 33 minutes against the Toronto Raptors. He also struggled to find any rhythm before he exited Thursday’s game against the LA Clippers.
But each good game that Davis has had since he return has been better than the last and he expects that trend to continue as he and his teammates get ready for the playoffs to start.
“You put me on the floor, I’m going to try to do as much as I can to help the team win,” Davis said. “I feel like I’m getting my legs back under me and getting into a rhythm, so I feel like the minutes might get back and extended.”
Davis’ monster nights might not always translate to wins while LeBron James is sidelined, but when James returns, fans can feel confident that at least one of them will be near 100% — and if both of them are near 100%, it might not matter where they’re seeded.