Lakers’ Austin Reaves Pushes Back on Criticism of Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers got a game and season-high 32 points from Anthony Davis in their 121-115 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 25. And Davis scored 23 points in the second half, showing how fast he can stuff the stat sheet. Davis finished with 13 rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and two steals.

10 of his boards and two of his blocks also came in the second half. It’s not just about Davis’ stats, though, says teammate Austin Reaves.

“Everybody’s quick to murder AD when he has a off night,” said Reaves via on November 25. “I think if you go back and look at you know his off nights, in some way he’s affecting the game more than what the average human is picking up on.”

“They go pick up [stats] and look and see how many points he had and go straight to their phone and start tweeting stuff and bashing him for not having 25 or 30,” Reaves said. “But he affects the game in so many ways that on his bad nights, he’s still very productive for us.”

Davis is a four-time All-Defensive selection and a three-time leader in blocks.

The eight-time All-Star and member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team also helped lead the Lakers to their 17th NBA title in 2020. But injuries and that perceived lack of consistency offensively often overshadow the things he does on the defensive end of the floor, some of which – like altering shots opponents’ shot selection – do not show up in the stat sheet.

“We expect a lot from AD,” LeBron James said via the league’s official site. “We want him to be aggressive offensively, at the same time anchor our defense. … AD was big time tonight.”

Austin Reaves: Lakers Have ‘Utmost Confidence’ in Anthony Davis

The Lakers’ defense has been solid with or without Davis this season. But it ranks in the 68th percentile with him compared to the 63rd percentile without, per Cleaning The Glass.

Still, the Lakers are 76-33 when Davis scores at least 25 points, per Stathead.

That is enough of a margin to suggest that they need him to be just as impactful offensively as he is defensively more consistently. Factor in his durability issues over the years and there is still room for Davis to be even more impactful. The win over the Cavs brought the Lakers’ record to 44-17 when Davis has at least 30 points.

“Anytime he plays like this I think we’ll be pretty tough to beat,” Reaves said. “He was a monster on both ends as usual, and we have the utmost confidence in AD.”

Lakers Start Road Trip With a Win

This was the first of a four-game road trip for the Lakers, three of which are against playoff contenders. They still have to face the Philadephia 76ers next followed by the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Things don’t get much easier after that, either.

Los Angeles will come home for one game before heading back out for another road trip, that one for three games. They will repeat that process once more, closing out the calendar year with just four home games in the next 15 contests. With a 3-5 record on the road – and some pieces still missing – this will be quite the challenge.