LeBron James and Anthony Davis delivered when the Lakers need them most, securing a Game 2 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers faced several tough questions after losing Game 1 over the weekend, 99-90. Davis’ production was chief among them. The Lakers big scored just 13 points paired with seven rebounds, and LeBron James poured in just 18. That wasn’t nearly enough to win on the road in the postseason.
Tuesday night was a very different story. Davis had 30-plus while James closed the game in style for another 20-point night. What used to be a casual night at the office for these two is suddenly not a guarantee.
Suns not the same without Chris Paul
The Suns need a healthy Paul to compete with this Lakers team. Coming off a tough shoulder injury, there’s no guarantee he’ll be anything close to the player he was in the regular season, when he helped lead Phoenix to the No. 2 seed.
Yet, CP3 played just 23 minutes in Game 2, and scored just six points. Playing with one arm isn’t easy, but even just having Paul on the court as a floor general can serve as an inspiration for the rest of the team.
Monty Williams needs to send a message for Game 3, and that starts with getting Paul back to as close to full-strength as he can get at this juncture of the season.
Lakers: Don’t doubt Frank Vogel
Playing Anthony Davis more time at the 5 was a legitimate discussion after the Lakers clogged the paint in Game 1. That discussion should dissipate after Game 2.
Davis played exceptionally well on both ends of the floor, including a clutch block on DeAndre Ayton late in the fourth quarter. Andre Drummond looked more than capable, tallying 15 points and 12 rebounds of his own. The Lakers were +5 with Drummond on the court.
Vogel was determined not to change up the Lakers entire system. Los Angeles’ Twin Towers approach gives them an immediate size advantage over any team they play. It also allows Davis to play more on the outside, where he’s more of a scoring threat.
The combination of Davis, Drummond and Marc Gasol was more than enough in the paint to prevail.
NBA Playoffs: Anthony Davis bounces back in a big way
When Davis is playing that well, it opens up the entire offense for the Lakers, diverting more attention away from LeBron and the shooters he surrounds himself with. The Lakers offense had a far better flow to it in Game 2, and Davis was a key cog in it.
AD was reportedly the last person in the gym on Monday night, and took his performance in Game 1 personally. Postgame, he stated once again that statlines like the one he put up in Game 1 were not acceptable. He has too high of standards for himself, and for good reason.
Even at one game apiece, the Lakers-Suns series is just getting started.