The NBA is often described as a make-or-miss league, and that phrase goes some way in explaining Anthony Davis’ performance in Game 2 of the Lakers and Warriors on Thursday. That is at least in his own words.
Davis shot 5-11 from the field on Thursday, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds after 30 points and 23 rebounds in Game 1. Following the game, which the Lakers lost in commanding fashion, Davis defended his performance by stating his shot selection didn’t change, they just didn’t fall.
“I took all the same shots I took in Game 1, I just missed them,” Davis said. “Elbow jumpers, pocket passers to the floater, same exact looks, didn’t shoot no shot that I didn’t shoot in Game 1, just missed them. Like Bron said, they made adjustments, shot the ball extremely well from three. We’ll be better, I’ll be better making those shots. Get back home on our home court and take care of business.”
Throughout his time with the Lakers and even in the playoffs, Davis has been guilty of drifting in and out of games. That didn’t seem to be the case on Thursday though, and the shot charts and numbers back that up.
Anthony Davis said his shot diet didn't change from Game 2 vs. Game 1, he just missed them.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) May 5, 2023
Shot charts seems to confirm that as more or less a fact. Warriors made some of those shots more difficult, but they were roughly in the same spots
Sometimes it's a make or miss league. pic.twitter.com/FLnJaq4oL0
Now, while the shots may have come in the same place, there was certainly more of a defensive presence on most of those shots. The change of having Draymond Green on Davis paid off, but the Warriors were also going to obviously make adjustments from Game 1 to not allow him so many open looks.
The trade-off was more open looks from the 3-point line for the Lakers. In just the first three quarters, the Lakers took nearly as many long-range attempts (24) as they did in the entirety of Game 1 (25). And the Lakers made nine threes in those three quarters in Game 2 compared to six in Game 1.
Basically, the Warriors cut off AD and dared the Lakers to beat them from the arc. And while they knocked down some more shots, it was a strategy that worked. Thus is the nature of the playoffs, where teams punch and counterpunch throughout the series.
To that point, head coach Darvin Ham noted the team has to work on getting AD the ball in better spots moving forward.
Darvin says the Lakers need to do a better job getting AD the ball in advantageous situations, which has generally been his go-to line this year after AD has a quiet game.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) May 5, 2023
It’s not a complete explanation of where things went wrong for the Lakers in the game, as there’s a whole host of defensive issues to address. But it wasn’t quite the typical off night for Davis, which could spell good things for the remainder of the series.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.