Lakers can’t beat Warriors if Anthony Davis keeps disappearing

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Anthony Davis’ disappearing act was not promoted ahead of Game 2 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

But there it was, Davis playing, barely noticeable, and making no impact for the Lakers.

After putting up 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in the Lakers’ Game 1 over the Warriors, he had an inconsequential 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks in Golden State’s 127-100 victory in Game 2 Thursday.

Davis’ performance was as baffling as it is problematic.

The Lakers can’t win this series with games like that from Davis, who also committed four turnovers.

Follow every game: Latest NBA Scores and Schedules

Los Angeles probably doesn’t win that game even if Davis plays well. The Warriors were fantastic in several areas. Steve Kerr and his coaching staff put together a great response, and players executed with a much more efficient offensive performance. It was a clinic directed by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

But the Lakers don’t stand a chance in any game if that’s the production they get from Davis. His play from game to game is scrutinized, but not without reason. He had 4-for-14 and 4-for-13 shooting games against Memphis. The Lakers were 1-1 in those games, but they could get away with it against the Grizzlies. They can’t against Golden State.

The Warriors made adjustments defensively, too, from Game 1 to Game 2, and much focused on Davis. Golden State center Kevon Looney was limited with an illness, and Draymond Green spent time defending Davis.

The Warriors kept Davis from dominating at the rim, shut down his pick-and-roll game and forced him to take jump shots. Missing four of his first five shots kept him from finding an early rhythm. He was just 5-for-11 from the field with eight points in the paint, and had just one dunk and one foul shot in Game 2. He was 11-for-19 with 18 points in the paint and eight foul shots in Game 1.

Every player has a bad game. It’s the predictability in which Davis has one that is going to be a pivotal storyline in this series.

Much will be made about Davis playing 44 minutes in Game 1 and coming back two days later with not much energy. But that’s the nature of this series − every other day until a team wins four. No extra days off like in the other series.

Pressure is on Davis. After Game 1, LeBron James said, ‘The Lakers franchise over the years, over the course of their existence, has always had dominant big men, dominant guys that have been a force at the rim. That’s why their jerseys are in the rafters. AD will be up there when he’s done playing.’

Golden State made adjustments to even the series, and the Lakers still leave San Francisco with a split, which is the goal of the road team at the start of a series. Now, it’s the Lakers’ turn to make adjustments, including defensively, as the series moves to Los Angeles for the next two games.

James will do what he does, but the Lakers are at their best when Davis is around 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

It’s early in the series, but much of the outcome depends on which Davis the Lakers get from game to game.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY