Lakers fans were treated to quite the performance from Malik Beasley in the team’s return from the All-Star break on Thursday. Beasley caught fire from the 3-point line and scored a game-high 25 points on 7-11 shooting from beyond the arc to lead the team past Golden State.
It was the type of performance the team has not often seen this year, especially from someone not named LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But it was very much a welcome sight, especially considering it came on a night when those two were not at their best.
After the game, AD revealed the advice he had given to Beasley during shootaround that stuck with him heading into the contest.
AD just told a story from shootaround today where Malik Beasley turned down an open look and hit AD inside. AD said he told him to shoot that every time.— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) February 24, 2023
Beasley went 7-11 on threes tonight and led the Lakers in scoring.
On this anecdote, Malik Beasley said AD threw the ball back at him and told him to "Shoot the ball!"— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) February 24, 2023
Malik said that AD and Ham's requests for him to shoot felt good and kept his confidence high. https://t.co/bajD943RiT
Not only did AD implore Beasley to shoot, but he also noted that Warriors were set up in a way to exploit that. After playing them just before the All-Star break, Davis was familiar with what to expect from the defense.
Anthony Davis says he knew the weakside offense would be there based on their previous games against the Warriors, so he focused on passing out to the corners when the defense collapsed on him rather than create his own buckets. "Guys made shots."— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 24, 2023
The result was that Davis only finished with 12 points on 3-5 shooting with 12 rebounds, but the Lakers knocked down 16-30 from the 3-point line. On top of Beasley’s seven makes, Mo Bamba and Lonnie Walker each had two 3-pointers.
It was the type of performance the Lakers haven’t had in some time, not just from Beasley but the team as a whole. LeBron also struggled shooting the ball, finishing with 13 points on 5-20 shooting from the field and 2-9 shooting from range.
But eight players scored in double figures on the night to help the Lakers to the win, a team effort that simply was not an option pre-trade deadline. It certainly feels like there’s a swagger and confidence to this team that hasn’t existed and man it’s so much fun to see.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.