The Lakers dropped their first game of these Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night, losing 114-106 to the Nuggets. The score doesn’t seem too bad, but the Lakers were down by a large margin at many points of the first three quarters, only making it close after a furious fourth quarter comeback. The Nuggets dominated the Lakers behind great games from not only their two superstars, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, but also Jerami Grant who scored 26 points after two disappointing games prior. When looking at the Lakers’ box score, one statistic really jumps out at you and that is the rebounds from Anthony Davis. He ended with only two rebounds, even having zero going into the fourth quarter.
It’s easily his lowest rebound total of the playoffs, and his lowest rebound total in the entire 2019-20 season aside from a November game against the Atlanta Hawks (he only played 28 minutes in a blowout win and ended with one rebound). No one on the team had more than four rebounds other than LeBron James, with the Nuggets outrebounding the Lakers 44 to 25. The Lakers lowest rebounding total during the regular season was 32, which was against — you guessed it — the Denver Nuggets (the Lakers still won that game).
Davis did not mince words with his rebounding performance after the game, saying the following (reported by Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll):
Anthony Davis was critical of his effort on the boards tonight:
"Have to do a better job on the
glass personally. I can't have two rebounds for an entire game… I mean, there's not really much I can say. I just have to do better."
— Playoff Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 23, 2020
Anthony Davis added what he thinks the Lakers need to do to get back into the driver’s seat for this series (also reported by Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll):
We’re still up 2-1. We have control of the series. We just got to come out in Game 4 and play our style of basketball. Can’t turn the ball over. Can’t put them on the line. Our defense was great in the fourth quarter. We got to be able to do that for all four [quarters], all 48 minutes. We can’t not play in the first three and then expect to win a game in the fourth. If we come out and play our style of basketball, pushing the pace and being scrappy and being the aggressors, especially on defense, we’ll be fine.
Davis is definitely not wrong in regards to him needing to be better on the glass, but he is far from being a problem for the Lakers in this series. Not only did he score the final 10 points for the Lakers in Game 2, including his buzzer-beating game-winner, but he is averaging 28.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.0 steal per game in these playoffs with even better numbers in these WCFs. Still, Davis holds himself accountable and will come out even better in Game 4 to try and give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead.