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Lakers vs. Cavaliers Preview: The Anthony Davis revenge tour continuous

There is no one in the league playing better than Anthony Davis right now, who has carried the Lakers on his back over the past 10 games.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Just in case you needed another reminder today, Anthony Davis is good at basketball. Like really good. After leading the Lakers to an impressive statement victory against the Milwaukee Bucks with 44 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, AD backed up his performance with one of his best games in a purple and gold armor, putting up yet another historic stat line of 55(!!) points to go with 16 rebounds and three blocks. Last weekend was a solid chapter to what now has become the Anthony Davis revenge tour this season.

To say that Davis has been efficient over the past couple of games is, at this point, an understatement. In the Lakers’ last six games (where they went 5-1 due to a heartbreaking game-winner), AD is averaging 35.5 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 1.2 steals, on a 66-62-86 shooting splits. Throughout the season, he’s led the league in rebounds (12.8 per game) and is anchoring the league’s top 10 best defense.

The most significant improvement in AD’s game this season is that he’s getting most of his buckets inside the paint while slowly regaining his rhythm from the perimeter, where he’s now up to 33.3% per 1.4 attempts per game this season. And while sure, Los Angeles’ schedule has been pretty much softer as of late, it’s disingenuous to discredit what Davis has been doing. After all, he’s a huge (if not the) reason why the purple and gold have won eight out of their last 10 games.

And speaking of the Lakers’ last 10 games, like AD, the team overall has improved their performance and production. They went from averaging 108.3 points, giving up 116.4 points a game, shooting 45% from the field and 30% from the three-point line in their first 12 games of the season (when their record was 2-10) to averaging 122.6 points on 44.7% shooting from the field and 37.1% from the 3-point line in the last 10 games (where they’re 8-2). Because of Davis and the Lakers’ latest resurgence, they’re two games back from the sixth seed in the Western Conference right now.

Included in one of their first 10 losses was against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who the Lakers faltered against at home exactly last month. In that corresponding game, L.A. gave up 114 points and 48 rebounds to Cleveland and only shot 29.6% from the three-point line. It was the same match Davis went missing in the fourth period, where he had zero of his 19 points.

It’s going to be interesting to observe how much the Lakers have improved in a span of a month and whether or not this recent momentum-gripping performance of theirs is for real or merely a fluke. Can they make it four in a row against the third-best team in the Eastern Conference? We’ll find out on Tuesday.

Notes and Updates

  • Baring any injuries, it’s pretty wild to think that the next time LeBron James returns back to Cleveland after this trip, he’ll most likely already be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. James, who now has 37480 points, is just 904 points away from surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • The Lakers are stumbling upon a really good Cavs team (15-9) that’s only lost once at home this season. Led by Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and sophomore Evan Mobley, they have the league’s best defense (106.7) and 10th best offense (113.0). Let’s see if this Cavs team can put a stop to AD’s hot streak.
  • For Tuesday’s injury report, Anthony Davis (low back tightness) and LeBron James (left ankle soreness) are listed as probable.
  • Making an appearance on the report is Wenyen Gabriel (left shoulder soreness) who was originally questionable, but was later downgraded to out with a left shoulder sprain and will miss at least the next four games including this one.
  • Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider (G-League two-way) are on South Bay Lakers duty.
  • As for the Cavs, Jarett Allen (back) is listed as questionable while Dean Wade (AC joint sprain) is out so they’ll be a little thin on the wing on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Ricky Rubio (knee) and Dylan Windler (ankle) won’t be active.
  • For news around the league, the NBA just announced the conference best players from last week and they’re no other than Davis for the Western Conference and Kevin Durant for the Eastern Conference. It’s nice to see AD awarded for his remarkable performance as of late, especially considering that the last time he was named player of the week was in December 2019.

The Lakers and Cavs will tip off at 4:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday. The game will be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet, and nationally on TNT.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani.

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