On a night when he struggled to score the basketball, Anthony Davis‘ defense came up big when it mattered most. Going just 5-12 from the field on the offensive end, Davis was still able to pick up four blocks along with numerous contested shots to make life miserable for the Kings. However, no block was bigger than his game-sealing effort on Harrison Barnes with time running out.
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Anthony Davis’ Game-Winning Block on Harrison Barnes Lifts Lakers Over Kings
Up 99-97 with 5.5 seconds left on the clock, Harrison Barnes slipped through an awkward switch between Alex Caruso and LeBron James and had what looked to be a clear path to the hoop to tie the game. However, Anthony Davis had other plans and rotated over to send back Barnes’ out of control attempt.
While Davis struggled a bit offensively, he was far from the only Laker to have some trouble against the Kings. On the whole, the Lakers shot just 42% from the field to go with an atrocious 29% from deep. That said, it was good to see that even when things just simply aren’t falling for Davis, he has the ability to have a game-changing effect regardless.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Redeems Himself With Big Fourth Quarter
Often the butt of jokes due to his embarrassingly bad start to the season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had himself a bit of a redemption tour against the Kings. Caldwell-Pope drew the start against the Lakers yet found himself on the bench not even four minutes into the game with the Lakers in an early hole. Though he only saw nine minutes in the first half, he would go on to play 16 in the second half and came up with a number of crucial buckets in the fourth quarter.
Essentially playing Robin to LeBron’s Batman in the fourth quarter, Caldwell-Pope was firing on all cylinders. Knocking down deep balls, making smart offensive plays in transition, and coming up with some key defensive stops, Caldwell-Pope rightfully deserves a hefty share of the credit for keeping the Kings at bay.
After not making a shot until his third game of the season, Caldwell-Pope desperately needed a quality performance to get him back on track. While he has looked solid in small stretches, the second half of tonight’s game was by far KCP’s strongest overall performance to date. Finishing with 16 points on an efficient 6-10 night shooting the ball, KCP was one of the only Lakers who was able to consistently knock down shots.
Especially with Avery Bradley out due to injury, the Lakers will need to lean on KCP more over the next few weeks. Bradley was a surprise star for the Lakers as a defensive stopper at the point of attack so KCP undoubtedly has some huge shoes to step in and fill. While Bradley shouldn’t be on the shelf for TOO long, every win counts in the West as the Lakers look to establish themselves as the dominant force in the conference.