The LA Lakers evened up the first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns after an impressive Game 2 road win. Star forward Anthony Davis led the charge behind a stellar all-around performance. After the contest, LeBron James delivered a simple message to Davis that will excite Lakers fans.
Anthony Davis leads Lakers to Game 2 win over Suns
After a lackluster Game 1 performance, Davis bounced back on Tuesday night.
The star forward stepped up with a near triple-double outing, posting a game-high 34 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists. Davis played with greater offensive assertiveness that fueled his big night, as evident through making 18 of his 21 free throw attempts.
His play fueled the Lakers’ offensive performance, keeping the Suns at bay throughout the contest. Phoenix took a brief lead late in the fourth quarter, but LA responded with their star power taking control. Davis and James combined for 10 straight points to put the game out of reach.
Dennis Schroder chipped in 24 points, while the four-time league MVP tallied a near double-double with 23 points and nine assists. Andre Drummond tallied a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
However, the message after the game that James sent to Davis should excite Lakers fans.
LeBron James delivers a blunt playoff message about Anthony Davis that Lakers fans love to hear
Davis‘ stellar Game 2 performance underlined his importance to the Lakers’ playoff success.
James made that crystal clear voicing after the contest that the 28-year-old’s heavy involvement is vital moving forward.
“Give him the ball early, often and always,” James said via Heavy.com. “It’s that simple. He responds to games like Game 1. He’s not a guy who talks about it, he’s about it and he goes out and [does] it. Give him the ball early, often and always.”
Davis played with an increased emphasis and focused toward being the offensive focal point. He made it a point early to pound the paint, leading to 21 free throw attempts. His offensive success allowed LA to maintain control despite the Suns’ several runs throughout the contest.
The seven-time All-Star is a defensive mismatch for opposing teams due to his unique skillset. James is well aware as Davis played a pivotal part in last year’s playoff run toward the 2020 NBA title.
He averaged 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds on 57.1% shooting from the floor and 38.3% from 3-point range. It includes 12 double-doubles while averaging 25.0 points and 10.7 rebounds on 57.5% shooting from the field and 48.3% from beyond the arc in the NBA Finals.
LA will need that again if they hope to move past the Suns, underlining the need for Davis to maintain his offensive aggressiveness. In other words, expect James and the Lakers to emphasize that further.
Lakers are eyeing a pivotal Game 3 win over Suns
LA will host its first playoff game in eight years, likely creating a raucous environment.
Davis‘ performance will once remain critical as Phoenix doesn’t possess an answer defensively. He’s a uniquely talented offensive threat that can stretch the floor with his shooting beyond his effectiveness in the paint.
Meanwhile, Chris Paul’s lingering shoulder injury raises questions concerning his health and effectiveness moving forward. Paul tallied only six points and five assists in 23 minutes in Game 2. Suns head coach Monty Williams aired concerning comments after the loss pinpointing the star guard’s physical issues late in the fourth quarter.
The table is set for the Lakers to grab a win on their home floor. James and Davis will need to lead the charge to move the team a step closer toward the next round.