Anthony Davis became the first Lakers player since Shaq in 2003 to have a 40 point 20 rebound game as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Oh, and he did it in just three quarters. I made a claim on this very site that one could argue New Orleans won the AD trade by collecting a king’s ransom of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first round picks last June. After last night’s performance, I retract that previous statement wholeheartedly.
The Memphis Grizzlies had zero answer for the big fella the entire evening. Memphis is a young team with talented big men in Jonas Valanciunas and lottery pick Jaren Jackson Jr. but they both looked lost in Davis’ web last night. AD dominated the boards, including eight offensive rebounds. He also set a Lakers franchise record for 26 made free throws on only 27 attempts.
He joined elite company with the likes of Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Mikan, and the aforementioned “Big Aristotle” as the only Lakers ever with a 40 & 20 game. He also became the quickest to reach the feat since the 1954-1955 season by doing so in just 31 minutes played.
Looking at the stats can tell a story, but the game tape gives the God’s eye view. Simply put, no one could handle this man last night. During the third quarter, the Lakers went on a showtime level run to put the Grizzlies to sleep. Headlined by alley-oops and physicality galore. The team defense by LA when AD, LeBron, Danny Green, and Dwight Howard were on the floor together was lock down. The interior presence was staggering with the amount of blocked shots and rebounds recorded.
Staying healthy has been a concern for Davis in his career, but if he can hold it together for a full season we could be looking at a potential title contender. Not to mention, LeBron James is knocking off the rust quickly and is currently averaging 9.5 assists a game. Perimeter shooting has been added to the mix as well with the addition of Quinn Cook and NBA champion Danny Green.
It’s been a decade since the Lakers were anywhere close to a powerhouse with the likes of Kobe & Pau and those great Finals series against the Celtics. Anthony Davis and LeBron James have the opportunity to take the purple & gold back to a place where their fan base has long salivated to return to.