The past week has been kind to the Lakers, seeing them go 3-0 to move their record up to 5-1 on the season. Anthony Davis, in particular, has been a dominant two-way force for the Lakers. With big performances in each of the Lakers’ three wins, Davis was rewarded with a Western Conference Player of the Week award for his efforts.
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Lakers’ Anthony Davis Earns Western Conference Player of the Week
Davis has posted impressive averages of 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game over the past week. The highlight was undoubtedly a monster 40 point, 20 rebound outing in just 30 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies. Taking advantage of a young and undermanned frontcourt, Davis was unstoppable against Memphis and was an incredible 26 of 27 from the free-throw line.
Almost as impressive as his offense has been his defensive prowess so far. Averaging three blocks per game on the season only tells part of the story as Davis uses his length and athleticism to close out on shooters and alter or contest nearly anything remotely close to his vicinity. The Lakers currently own an NBA-best 96.3 defensive rating in large part due to Davis’ contributions. Davis himself has a 92 drtg – good for second on the team behind Dwight Howard‘s 88.
Anthony Davis, Lakers Face Tough Slate of Upcoming Games
Although the Lakers close out their road trip with a game against the young and struggling Chicago Bulls, their other two games this week pose a tough matchup.
First facing off with the undefeated Miami Heat, the Lakers then have to match up with the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors. While the Raptors are a much different team without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, the emergence of Pascal Siakam as a star has helped keep the team extremely dangerous despite losing arguably the best active two-way player in the sport.
Jimmy Butler seems to be an ideal fit on the Heat – who boast a deep and athletic roster that looks to be a matchup nightmare for every team. With a gritty defense and the speed to gauge teams for easy buckets in transition, the Heat have been imposing their will to start the year – highlighted by an insane 46-14 first quarter in their game against the Houston Rockets.
As good as the Heat and Raptors have been, the Lakers have arguably been better. Since dropping their first game to the Clippers, the Lakers have rattled off five straight wins. More importantly, the team has shown a willingness to battle through adversity. Getting off to slow starts in three of the five wins, the Lakers were able to put their head down and fight back into games by sticking to their gameplan. Frank Vogel seems to be making some great in-game adjustments and has the Lakers clicking on a level defensively the team hasn’t seen in years.
Though it won’t be easy by any means, the Lakers look to be in a position to keep their run going while adding some big names to their growing resume.