If the Los Angeles Lakers want to win a championship — or at least make it out of the first round — Anthony Davis will have to elevate his game and do much more than what he did in Game 1, according to TNT analyst and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.
Davis finished the game as the Lakers leading scorer during a lackluster offensive night in Game 1, netting 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds as LA lost 100-93. While that’d be a nice stat line for most players around the NBA, for a player of Davis’ caliber it’s simply not enough in the playoffs, at least for O’Neal’s taste.
After confirming Davis had 21 first half points and finished with 28, he tore into the Laker star on Inside the NBA.
“That’s not good enough. He averaged 26 during the regular season. In order to be effective in the playoffs, AKA dominant, you got to add 6-8 points. That’s always been the formula,” O’Neal said. “I need him to be aggressive and score, every time. Don’t just stand out there and pick and pop. We always talk about [Kristaps] Porzingis — him and Porzingis are in the same category for me. For him to have 21 in the first half and only end up with 28 — that’s not good enough. A regular person would be like, ’28 and 16 is pretty good.’ But no, not to great player standards. If you want to be good, 28 is good. I need him to have 34 or 35.”
Charles Barkley Thinks Blazers Are Deeper Team
O’Neal’s co-star Charles Barkley has been one of the biggest backers of the Blazers, picking them to upset the Lakers in the first round. At points during the show, he even said “we” when referring to Portland because he’s put so much into his prediction. Barkley thinks less pressure being on the Blazers stars to perform will be the difference.
For example, LeBron James delivered 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists in the game, a rare feat. If James or Davis have a real off night, it might not be pretty for the purple and gold.
“If you look at the game, LeBron and AD played well. But if you look at the Trail Blazers, Dame can have a bad game. CJ can have a bad game. Carmelo can have a bad game. Nurkic can have a bad game. That’s the difference for me between the two teams in my opinion,” Barkley said. “LeBron is the point-forward, he had 15 assists tonight. He set a record tonight that’s never been done before. I don’t think he can do that four times against this team and win.”
Anthony Davis Says Playoff Atmosphere ‘Different’ in Bubble
While Davis didn’t skirt around the issue that the Lakers didn’t do enough to win the game, but also noted the lack of playoff atmosphere inside the bubble didn’t help their cause.
“I missed a ton of shots tonight. We all did as a team. We just have to take our time and knock down shots at the line and from three.
“Everything that we did to lose the game was on us. It’s a little different when you are on a run or anything like that to get the home crowd into it and get you going and put a little pressure on the opposing team. But we knew coming in it wasn’t going to be that way. We only have our bench and our bench is trying to make up for the crowd.”
Davis said he’d like to see the Lakers play with more pace, avoiding the stagnant half-court situations they found themselves in during Game 1.
“As long as we continue to play with a lot of pace, it’s definitely tough to beat us,” Davis said. “It’s when we slow down and we’re not running, where we kind of get in trouble.”