In his first season with the LA Lakers, Anthony Davis has helped guide the team back to the playoffs. Davis has been one of the team’s driving forces alongside LeBron James. However, LA has dropped their second straight opening game in a playoff series after a disappointing outing. With that in mind, Davis has finally conceded to perform what Lakers fans have been begging him to do.
Lakers fall short in Game 1 vs. Rockets
The Lakers entered their second-round playoff series as the clear-cut favorites over the Houston Rockets.
However, things didn’t transpire in that manner in Game 1 on Friday night. The Rockets controlled the contest’s tempo and pace behind their star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The two former league MVPs guided their small-ball lineup to a comfortable win over LA behind a dominant showing in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers’ size and expected rebounding advantage both were absent in the opening game of the series. Instead, the Rockets forced their opponents to play in their style by emphasizing 3-pointers while holding a 53-47 rebounding edge. LA played with a notable lack of energy and effort in the second half, which was evident by being outscored 27-18 in the fourth quarter.
All that pushes some much-needed adjustments heading into Game 2. Anthony Davis has also finally conceded to making one move that Lakers fans have been dying to see him do throughout the season.
Anthony Davis concedes to playing center
Since Anthony Davis joined the Lakers last offseason, there have remained lingering questions concerning his desire to play center.
It’s something that he has pushed back upon at times throughout the season, but has played the spot from time to time. With the Lakers falling disappointingly in Game 1 against the Rockets, Davis is reportedly willing to play at the center position, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
He has proven throughout the last few years to be an even more significant mismatch for centers. It was the case against the Portland Trail Blazers after he made the switch to that role. The Rockets are currently rolling with forward PJ Tucker as their center, which should provide Davis with more opportunities to utilize his size advantage.
Game 1 saw him settle for jumpers rather than using his skill and size in the post against the Rockets’ smaller defenders. It should see the All-Star forward emphasize scoring in the paint as LA will need that production and part of their offense to get past Houston.
Lakers must bounce back in Game 2
The Lakers are backed into the same spot after Game 1, like their previous series against the Trail Blazers.
However, the Rockets pose a much different challenge behind their star guards heading their highly effective small-ball lineup. It puts greater importance on LA utilizing their size to their advantage to offset Houston’s speed and 3-point shooting.
Game 2 will also need them to come out firing from the start as the opening contest saw them allow the Rockets to get into their comfort zone. The Lakers have two defensive mismatches on the floor with Davis and LeBron James offensively, but it’s on the supporting cast to pick up the pace.
That will need to see Kyle Kuzma contribute more than eight points off the bench while LA must pound the paint and hold a significant edge in that regard. It will also require a commanding control of the glass led by their centers with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard after combining for just seven rebound in 24 minutes played on Friday. The pieces are there for them to bounce back as Houston has garnered enough confidence from their Game 1 performance.
The Lakers have a clear-cut understanding of the game plan to push through to even the series up. It will start with Davis guiding them forward at center if they hope to continue their quest toward securing an NBA title.