Anthony Davis could have performed better as a facilitator in a crisis than ever before in the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, but the All-Star big man was still overly critical of his game.
“Right now, to be firm with myself, man, I think I’m nasty now,” Davis said after finishing with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. “I don’t hit. I don’t take free throws. But I think tonight my aggression, just like [post-up threat] and reaching for the paint, he allowed the boys to open up. “
He missed 10 of the 18 shots he attempted – shooting only 44.4% compared to the 53.2% video that came in the night, connecting this season. And he went only 2-for-5 from a foul, making his career an 80.1
However, his submission turned out to be different. In the last three minutes, the Lakers lost 3-to-3 on Davis’ shows, allowing the visiting LA to turn a one-possession game into a relatively comfortable victory.
That was the most assists he ever had during a match clutch in his career.
He tied a dish with Kentavid Caldwell-Pope to increase Los Angeles’ lead from two to five with 2 minutes left, 42 seconds left; he found Alex Caruso in the corner for 3 more to score the Lakers seven minutes later; and he set LeBron James for 3 with 1:04 to give his team eight points. The last wave sealed the victory and allowed the Lakers to extend their winning streak to 8-0 to start the season.
“I trust my teammates. AC hit one for me. Brawne hit one and Kenny hit one and they’re in the right places where I want guys when I have the ball on the post,” Davis explained. “It simply came to our notice then [am] he managed to make the reading with the boys double or collapse to the paint when he got there, and he managed to kick it and these boys fired shots. “
While Davis finished with less than 20 points for the fifth straight game – his longest streak under 20 last season was limited to just three games during the Seed Bubble Games, when Los Angeles had already finished No. 1 – his assists have been on the rise.
Five of Davis’ six assists against Bucks have led to a three-pointer for Los Angeles – tied to at most the three he has ever assisted in a game in his career – and his 13 assists in the last two games are the most -He has had a two-game period since joining the Lakers.
James explained that he knew Davis had this omission all along, but he rarely managed to show it in New Orleans because the teams would play him one-on-one, thinking he couldn’t beat them alone.
“But I felt that since he’s been here, he’s been so good that I know he’s going to see a lot of double teams in the end,” said James.
Once those pairs come, James said, Davis is trained to spot the lanes he can head to to find open teammates.
“He continues to develop every single game. Every single movie session, we kind of break these things down – what he sees on the floor,” James said. “Tonight was another example for him, who just sees the other side of the floor and puts the ball in time, and the boys knock it down.”
Like Davis, Lakers coach Frank Vogel left the win unsatisfied, although Bucks came in at night, ranking No. 2 in offensive efficiency and averaging 120.4 points per game, and the Lakers kept them far below that score.
“Well, we have to be better,” Vogel said. “We didn’t play our best basketball game tonight.”
This is the tone of the team, which is looking for something far more significant than the regular season in January.
“My aggression tonight,” Davis said, “is the only way to feel like I’m going to get out of this funk or whatever I’m in.”
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a better basketball player in every game and I will continue to do that.”