Pau Gasol Sends Message to Lakers’ Anthony Davis After IST Championship

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the first-ever champions of the NBA In-Season Tournament, and they did it thanks to a big night from Anthony Davis.

Davis finished with game and season-high marks of 41 points and 20 rebounds. What’s more, he had five assists and four blocks in the 123-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers on December 9. As Davis screamed “I’m Him” from the floor, former championship Laker and Hall-of-Famer Pau Gasol sent a message.

“Talk to them AD,” Gasol exclaimed in a post on X on December 9.

Gasol spent seven seasons in L.A. and helped the Lakers to their 15th and 16th titles. He won in 2008-09 and 2009-10 alongside the late Kobe Bryant. A six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection, Gasol announced his retirement in 2021 after 18 seasons split between five organizations.

Davis averaged 23.3 points, 14.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game in what turned out to be a seven-leg run in the tournament for the Lakers. That he saved his best performance for last, and for when the Lakers needed it most, could bode well for their outlook.

While the Lakers enjoy the spoils of winning the In-Season Tournament, their season will be judged by how far they go in the playoffs and if their run ends with a championship.

Davis acknowledged as much during his walkoff interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters.

Anthony Davis Gets Honest About In-Season Tournament, Indiana Pacers

“First to do it,” Davis said of winning the inaugural IST Cup via ESPN. “First team to win it. We know it’s not the real thing. But we keep taking steps in the right direction. … But the first to do it? We’ll take it.”

Davis was sure to show love to the Pacers too, who boast one of the more talented young teams in the Eastern Conference, led by All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton. But Davis believes the Lakers brought it from the opening tip and remained locked in throughout to secure the inaugural Cup.

“Indiana is a great basketball club,” Davis said. “They shown what they can do all season. But I think just our energy, our effort to start the game, our focus, it was off the charts tonight.”

The Pacers are 12-8 and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference after 20 games.

Anthony Davis Loses Award to LeBron James

As solid-to-spectacular as Davis was, he did not earn In-Season Tournament MVP honors. LeBron James came away with that. He averaged 26.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in the tournament.

James was a big proponent of the tournament from its inception, and his effort in every contest was a testament to that belief in the idea.

If there was anything the Lakers might come away concerned with, it is that James averaged over 30 minutes per game in the tournament. Those games were not consecutive. But James has only played fewer than 30 minutes five times in the last 14 games. He was over 28 minutes in two of those contests.

Up next, the Lakers will enjoy a three-day respite before beginning a seven-game stretch comprised of two three-game road trips.

They will play on the road for eight of their next 11 games before the calendar turns.