Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers had their three-game winning streak snapped in a 112-108 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday, dropping them to 33-35 overall and ruining a chance for the team to get to a .500 record or better for the first time since last season, as well as knocking them (for now) into 11th place in the West and outside of the play-in tournament.
In the defeat, Davis played far below his usual superlative standards. Defensively, he helped slow Julius Randle in the second half, but couldn’t paper over the other issues that adjustment created for the team on that end. Offensively he had his second straight subpar outing as an opponent threw the kitchen sink at him. And unlike in the team’s win against the Toronto Raptors, his teammates didn’t hit the open shots he created, while Davis shot a clank-tastic 8-18 (44.4%) from the field on his own, worse than the rest of his teammates’ combined percentage (49.2%).
After the game, he pointed the finger squarely at himself for the defeat:
Anthony Davis on the loss: “My fault. I played terrible.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 13, 2023
Anthony Davis hard on his 8 for 18 shooting night and going 1 for 5 at the line. When asked about the difference in the game: "My play. I played terrible. Couldn’t find my shot: free throws, layups, everything. The guys did their job. I didn’t do my job tonight."— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) March 13, 2023
“The guys did their job. I didn’t do my job tonight." @AntDavis23 blames himself for the loss tonight even after a 17pts,16rebs, 2stl, and 1blk stat-filling night. pic.twitter.com/Q1NgtwAm2e— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) March 13, 2023
Davis isn’t really exaggerating, either. Normally an excellent free-throw shooter (81% going into tonight), he even bricked four of his five attempts from the charity stripe on the evening... in a four-point loss. That’s a tough thing for the team to overcome, especially when they spent most of the second half playing from behind.
Still, poor night aside for a second, it’s worth noting that Davis has shown admirable leadership over the last two games, from explaining why he doesn’t care how many shots he gets if the Lakers are winning to taking public responsibility for this ill-timed L.
That’s what a star does, and his teammates will surely appreciate it.
The other good news? Davis probably won’t look this lost offensively in the team’s next game. As he and the other trade deadline additions continue to mesh, the offense will likely start to run more smoothly as they gain chemistry and cohesion. Plus, Davis followed up the last game where he shot this poorly (an 8-18 outing vs. Portland on Feb. 13) with a 13-17 scorcher against the New Orleans Pelicans... who are coincidentally the Lakers’ next opponent on Tuesday.
With Davis’ old team sitting with the same 33-35 record as his current one, that game will be even more important. If he can rally from this bad night in that matchup, it couldn’t come at a better time.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.