The Los Angeles Lakers clearly didn’t look right during their game one loss on Tuesday. It only took two days for them to turn it around.
On Thursday, the Lakers came out strong from the gate and led nearly the whole way as they blew out the Portland Trail Blazers to even up the series. That performance was much closer to what fans had come to expect over the course of the regular season.
One player in particular had a major turnaround. After struggling to shoot the ball on Tuesday both from the outside and around the rim, Anthony Davis turned things around by scoring 32 points on 13-of-21 shooting and made three of his four attempts from 3-point range in just 29 minutes of game time. His additional 11 rebounds put him in some exclusive company:
Anthony Davis tonight:
in 29 MINS
He is the first Laker with a 30/10 playoff game in 30 minutes or fewer since 1975. pic.twitter.com/3syZzzuJAH
— StatMuse (@statmuse) August 21, 2020
Davis took responsibility after game one for his poor finishing and his settling for jumpers and fixed both issues on Thursday. He was simply dominant in the paint against the Blazers trio of Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside, and Wenyen Gabriel. That clearly had an impact on his confidence and the way the Blazers bigs guarded him, leading to his outpour from deep. Defensively, Davis was as great as ever, spearheading a performance in which the Lakers held Portland – the hottest offense in the league leading up to the postseason – to just 58 points through the first three quarters.
AD also credited LeBron James for encouraging him after the game one loss and making sure he didn’t get too low after a poor team performance. It clearly worked as James won a playoff game for the first time in his career when scoring under 15 points thanks largely to Davis’ dominance on both ends of the floor. Getting performances like that from the big man hugely raises the ceiling for this Lakers team and after a couple days of the sky falling in Los Angeles, it appears like they are back on track.
Watch highlights of AD’s stellar performance below: