Anthony Davis was the best version of himself versus the Cavaliers, grabbing 13 rebounds, rejecting three shots and scoring 32 points, his new season high for the 2023-24 campaign.
This isn't just a one-off performance. Davis is averaging 22.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game and has only missed one game this season, putting to rest questions about his availability and durability.
Are there games Davis underperforms offensively?
He has had two games where he was kept under ten points and those performances sparked debate on why Davis is inconsistent offensively.
Austin Reaves is a lob machine tonight pic.twitter.com/JB4XEtu34N— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 26, 2023
Looking at a boxscore and just one side of the court doesn't tell the full story though and Austin Reaves wanted to point that out even on a night when everyone was praising how great Davis is after the team’s win in Cleveland.
"Everybody's quick to murder AD when he has an off night and I think if you go back and look at his "off nights," in some way he's affecting the game more than what the average human is picking up on'" Reaves said postgame. "They go pick up (box scores) and look and see how many points he had and go straight to their phone and start tweeting stuff and bashing him for not having 25 or 30. But he affects the game in so many ways that, on his "bad night," he's still very productive for us. Any time he plays like this, I think we'll be pretty tough to beat. He's super efficient, he's a monster on both ends as usual and we have the most confidence in AD."
It's no surprise Reaves is backing Davis from fan criticism.
Reaves has experienced the ire of fans just like Davis has when he's underperformed. After Reaves was placed on the bench in a move head coach Darvin Ham referred to as a "realignment" his critics were quick to call him a foul merchant, overrated and overpaid.
Yet, just like Davis, Reaves has continued to improve as the season has progressed and while he is no longer starting, he's shined in his new role and is back to being a valuable player in the rotation for the Lakers.
Regardless of what you think of him, Davis is an elite player and has repeatedly proven his impact on winning.
He's one of the most scrutinized players in the league, with even role players like Philadelphia's Paul Reed calling him a flopper, dismissing his value.
Davis can't do much other than continue playing well to quiet the noise, but as long as the Lakers keep winning and his teammates are in his corner, that's all that matters.
The noise will have little to no effect on the on-court result.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.