The Los Angeles Lakers reminded everyone why they are the top seed in the Western Conference on Thursday night, throttling the Portland Trail Blazers 111-88 in Game 2 to even the first round series at a game apiece.
Anthony Davis led the way in the victory, collecting 31 points and 11 rebounds. But his biggest shot might have come after the game, when he roasted his veteran superstar teammate LeBron James.
“He’s seen it all in the 25 years he’s been playing,” Davis said, joking about James’ age. From the back of the room James could be heard hollering back, “F— you.”
Anthony Davis Credits LeBron James for Off-Court Advice
Davis was joking, but how James has sustained his level of play in Year 17 has been a thing of wonder. The 35-year-old, four-time MVP is a finalist for the NBA’s top award again the season, serving as a major catalyst in the Lakers turnaround from a non-playoff team to the top seed in the west. He averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-leading 10.2 assists this season.
Davis did get more serious on what James helped him with between Game 1 and Game 2.
“He was there for me to encourage me and keep me level headed because it was just one game,” Davis said, per Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.
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James had one of his worst playoff performances by the numbers in Game 2, putting up just 10 points and six rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers.It was the fewest points he’s scored in a playoff win, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
But as he pointed out in his post-game presser, he didn’t really need to have one of his legendary nights, with Davis carrying the load and the bench getting hot.
“AD is one of those unicorns and he does some things that some of my other great teammates aren’t capable of doing,” James said. “But in the same sense, I’ve played with Dwyane Wade and he can do some thing that AD is not capable of doing. I’ve also played with Kyrie Irving and he can do some things that D-Wade and AD are not capable of doing. I’ve had the luxury of playing with some great players, and that’s just three of them. But in the present, to be able to go out and orchestrate the offense and orchestrate the tempo, and get to the hot man, get it to AD and run the offense through him — it’s a luxury for myself and our team.
“I play no pressure basketball,” James added. “I get opportunities to get shots or get lanes, I take advantage of them. Tonight didn’t cause for me to do much offensively or force much. AD had it going and we had our shooters going as well. Our bench came in and gave us a huge lift. Every game has its own challenges.”
James was happy to see Davis stepping up and getting his shots after he was criticized for disappearing in the second half of Game 1.
“He was just aggressive from the beginning of the game,” James said of Davis. “He wasn’t passive at all, looked for his shots. He did a great job of rebounding as well, got some putbacks.”