We break down many aspects of the sport, but basketball is ultimately about two things. Putting the basketball in the hoop and preventing the other team from doing so.
Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns, LeBron James did most of the scoring, contributing 31 points in the Lakers 106-103 victory. Anthony Davis took care of the defensive side of the ball with six defensive rebounds, two blocks and elite rim protection.
Following the win, which punched Los Angeles’ ticket to Las Vegas for the NBA In-Season Tournament semi-finals, James credited Davis’ defensive dominance.
“AD is our anchor when it comes to our defense,” James said postgame. “He can do everything on the floor. I don’t think we have another one in the league that can do it, that can guard one through five and we know that he can get a stop. He’s been doing it for it for so long. I think it gets taken for granted. Our league, when we talk about Defensive Player of the Year and guys that defend at a high level, it’s more than blocking shots. It’s being able to switch out and disrupt offenses. It’s being able to switch out on the perimeter (on) marquee guys, the ability to shut down everything and disrupt everything. AD does that. He’s our anchor. We got the utmost confidence whenever we have an opportunity to get to that switching lineup and AD is on an island on a guard, we feel like he’s going to win that matchup.”
Great defense from the Lakers here. Suns go with Veer action, P&R into a pindown for Booker. Prince fights over, AD switches. Good contain, showing early help. Switch and recover, multiple efforts were there. pic.twitter.com/c4GaKlclmS— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) December 6, 2023
Time and time again, on Tuesday, Davis won his matchup, whether against a big like Jusuf Nurkic or a guard like Devin Booker. With his speed and strength, he can cover so much ground and still recover and defend in the paint.
His lack of a Defensive Player of the Year Award has puzzled fans who watch him nightly. Perhaps this season, with his play and consistency, missing just one game so far, the people who vote on this award will finally give him the prestige that matches his quality of play on the defensive end.
Until then, Davis will have to settle with fans and the best player on his team, acknowledging his greatness.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.