Anthony Davis getting used to sharing the load with Lakers
NBA.com Global on Oct 17, 2019 08:07 PM
Golden State Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
NBA.com staff report
Anthony Davis made his preseason Staples Center debut (Thursday, PHL time) and got off to a balanced-if-quiet start in the first half. He had six points (on 2-for-4 shooting), five rebounds and four assists in 16 minutes ... and the Los Angeles Lakers led the Golden State Warriors by 26.
The Lakers would go on to win, 126-93, as Davis finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks (while sitting out the entire fourth quarter). After the game, even Davis had to marvel at his playing a smaller role and yet his team having a win all-but assured by halftime.
"It takes a load off of me," Davis said. "I was joking with LeBron [James] earlier ... this is the first time in a while where I can have five or six points -- whatever it was at halftime -- and we're up by 30. It feels good knowing you don't have to do much, everybody has a role, and when you have guys all over the board who can score the basketball, you don't need to do everything every possession.
"It feels good to be able to just, you know, fit in. When the ball comes your way, either score it, pass it and it's kind of been like that all preseason."
Davis, of course, spent the last seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, where he was the focal point of the offense (and the top target for the opposing defense). Playing alongside James has given Davis more offensive freedom -- even in the preseason -- and allowed him to use his varied talents.
"He has seen multiple defenders for seven straight years in New Orleans. He is able to read the defense. He can create for himself any time," James said. "There are not many guys in our league that can affect the game the way AD does. He can score, rebound and pass. He just does it at a high level."
To Davis' point, the Lakers got plenty of contributions on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) as James (18 points, 11 assists), JaVale McGee (12 points, six rebounds), Avery Bradley (18 points), Quinn Cook (16 points) and Dwight Howard (13 points) all carried their weight. Lakers coach Frank Vogel expects the kind of harmonious production Davis and James turned in to be the norm come the regular season.
"It doesn't have to always go through LeBron like it has with teams past, and it doesn't always have to go through AD," Vogel said. "Quite frankly, even when those guys are out, I love the role players that we have and their ability to carry the load as well. Whether it's having two lob threats, and playing the spread game. We've got a number of shooters out there that can make you pay when we force help, and there's a lot of experience on our club, so hopefully the usage and workload will be spread out."