Anthony Davis Dominates as Lakers Hold Off Warriors

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In a game they absolutely needed to have to keep pace in the ever-tightening push for the post season, the Lakers were able to hold off the Warriors late in a 113-105 victory.

The Lakers got contributions from all over their roster with six players scoring in double figures and a collective defensive effort that held the Warriors to 39.6% shooting from the field, but no singular performance was bigger than Anthony Davis’. AD scored a game high 39 points on 14-25 shooting, while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out six assists, and tallying two blocks.

Davis was everything the Lakers needed him to be and more, navigating a Warriors defense that held him to 5-19 shooting earlier this season when these teams matched up by calmly canning the jumpers they tried to entice him to take, and then slaloming his way into the paint via slick keeper actions and off the dribble attacks for floaters over the top of elite front line defenders.

When the defense crowded him or if the help came, he expertly picked out his teammates for good shots of their own and went to the offensive glass to hunt put backs off their misses. And then, down the stretch when the game was tight, he went back to his bread and butter in the post on back-to-back plays, drawing a foul and knocking down his free throws on the first possession, then attacking off the dribble to get the game-sealing basket against one of the league’s best defenders in Draymond Green.

Davis’ dominance set the tone for the Lakers early, enabling them to build up a 20 point lead late in the 1st quarter, but as they’ve been known to do — and have repeatedly done in their recent five game winning streak — the Warriors roared back over the final 15 minutes of the first half to trim away at the Lakers lead and get it down to only a single point at halftime.

Led by Steph Curry (27 points) and Klay Thompson (22 points), the Warriors offense leveraged their perimeter shooting to not just get things going from the outside, but to set up Green on dives to the basket for shots inside. Draymond would finish with 15 points of his own on 7-11 shooting to help support his longtime teammates and keep the game within striking distance.

The Lakers, however, had similar support for their star’s performance, but from multiple players. Troy Brown was once again excellent on both sides of the ball, knocking down four of his seven attempts from deep en route to 14 points, while also pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out two assists in a team-high 41 minutes of action. Brown also played inspired defense, chasing the likes of Curry, Thompson, and Jordan Poole (10 points on 11 field goal attempts) around the perimeter and hounding them into difficult shots.

Austin Reaves also had his second consecutive masterful game, nearly securing a double-double with 16 points on 5-9 shooting while also handing out eight assists. Without LeBron and D’Angelo Russell, and with Dennis Schröder struggling with his own shot (4-13 shooting), Reaves took on greater responsibility as a primary ball handler and initiator of offense and handled those reps to great success for both him and the team.

Reaves was particularly great in closing out the 3rd quarter where, in the last three minutes after the Warriors had cut the Lakers lead down to a single point again, he hit a huge three pointer to push the lead back to four, got a steal, assisted on a Lonnie Walker IV jumper, and then knocked down another three right before the buzzer to push the Lakers lead back up to six heading into the final period.

In the final frame both teams battled hard, and it looked like Curry would get his team over the hump, but just as he did to begin the game, AD was great in closing things out. His 12 points in the final quarter carried the team home and with just enough defensive and offensive support from the rest of the team the Lakers were able to fend off Golden State for the much-needed win.

The Lakers will look to build on this momentum when they face off against the Grizzlies on Tuesday.