Sitting in his locker postgame, Anthony Davis looked worn out.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after the game that Davis got an IV at halftime to stay in the game, in which he delivered 25 points, 10 rebounds and some lockdown defense to help the L.A. move to 18-3 and avoid dropping consecutive games for the first time this season.
“Just try to fight. Do whatever I can to help the team win,” Davis told reporters from his locker postgame. “I felt like I could give it a go.”
Davis did that and a little more and his teammates took notice, specifically LeBron James.
“He’s been doing it all year,” James told the Los Angeles Times. “Playing through injuries, playing through illness like he did tonight. Defensive player of the year and he showed tonight once again playing one on one versus Joker in the post. When there were switches going on with Jamal Murray, playing one on one versus a small. Got stop after stop after stop. Just a monster game for him.”
Lakers’ Anthony Davis Shuts Down Denver
Davis made things uncomfortable for Denver star Nikola Jokic all night. The Serbian big man totaled just 13 points in 34 minutes and couldn’t solve the length and athleticism of Davis. He also handled switches on a must smaller Jamal Murray flawlessly.
“He comes in and has a … Defensive Player of the Year type of performance,” coach Frank Vogel told NBA.com. “He’s guarding their two best players. Jokic in single coverage, everybody staying home and then Jamal Murray taking him to the basket. Just making defensive play after defensive play. He was outstanding. For him to play through illness and have that kind of performance was special.”
Davis has made it clear that defense is a priority this season. He was yelling “First-Team All-Defense!” as he came off the floor in Denver.
“I take pride in my defense,” Davis told reporters post game. “Anytime late in a game when a guy is threatening to score on me, I take it personal. I try to play without fouling and get those stops for our team.”
Lakers’ Teammates See MVP in Future for Anthony Davis
Davis’ teammates politely corrected him after the game, setting the bar a bit higher for the former No. 1 overall pick.
“I got him as MVP and defensive player of the year,” veteran guard Rajon Rondo told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. “So, if he only gets one, I’ll be [angry]. My expectations are really high for him, so we have to continue to win as a team and hopefully the rest of the world will understand and see that he’s a really big part of why we are who we are.”
Alex Caruso added to the chorus.
““His defense was extraordinary,” Caruso said via Spectrum SportsNet. “He’s shutting down the opposing team’s best player one-on-one, without fouling, on the road, sick. (He was) exhausted, probably, and that just goes to show the type of competitor he is, and we all know what he’s capable of.”