LeBron James, Frank Vogel Seek to Spark Struggling Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, left, of the Lakers

Getty Anthony Davis, left, of the Lakers

For Lakers star Anthony Davis, it was one of his worst performances since joining the Lakers, and if you take away blowouts and meaningless games in the NBA‘s Orlando bubble this summer, it was his least productive, at least offensively. He scored just 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting on Monday against Portland, the fifth-lowest total he’s scored in his time in L.A. He did grab 10 rebounds and had five assists.

Coach Frank Vogel pointed the finger at himself.

“I think we didn’t do a good enough job making sure he was involved in the offense the first half,” Vogel said in his postgame press conference. “We just got to do a better job of that. A little better in the second half. Just one of those nights we were stuck in mud a little bit.”

Davis was just 1-for-4 shooting in the first half, and 5-for-10 in the second half.

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Fellow star forward LeBron James agreed with Vogel.

“We all gotta do a better job of finding him, looking for him,” James said. “That’s on us.”

Anthony Davis Has Struggled Early for Lakers

Through three games, Davis is taking only 15.0 shots per game and averaging 19.7 points, well down from last year’s numbers, 17.7 shots and 26.1 points. It was expected that, with the addition of scorers Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell, the numbers for Davis and James might dip, but Davis’ dip has been a bit too precipitous.

He has shot the ball well (53.0% from the field and 42.9% from the 3-point line) but he is not getting to the free-throw line much and he is not getting enough touches here in the early going.

James, for his part, did get Davis an easy look on a transition alley-oop.

Davis said that the blame rests with him. He missed the Lakers’ game on Sunday with a calf injury and did not want to bully his way into the action on Monday against Portland.

“Any time you take a game off, I don’t want to force my way back into the rhythm,” Davis said. “The team played well last night and I just wanted to try to fit in, knowing the focus was going to be on my with (Robert) Covington guarding me and trying to double-team and things like that. Trying to make the right plays and the right reads. I liked the shots I got early on, went in-and-out. But I have to be more aggressive to start the game.”

Lakers’ Ball Movement Was Poor vs. Blazers

The Lakers struggled with ball movement against Portland, and notched only 20 assists, a season-low. They were averaging 29.0 assists in their first three games.

Typically, Davis plays well against Covington—he shot 55.7% when guarded by Covington during last year’s playoff series against Houston, for whom Covington was playing before going to Portland in the offseason.

But he just did not get the ball enough, and was only 3-for-7 shooting against Covington on Monday.

“It starts with the group,” Vogel said. “We just weren’t moving the ball that well. I gotta make sure that I get him the ball in opportunities where he can be aggressive because when we do that we know he is aggressive and carries a big role for us. It’s really on the group.”

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