Lakers vs. Suns: Anthony Davis takes full responsibility for Los Angeles’ Game 1 loss to Phoenix


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When the Los Angeles Lakers won the championship last season, they did so largely behind dominant postseasons from their two superstars: LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Now that James is playing through a high ankle sprain, the Lakers need Davis to perform now more than ever. 

Yet in their first playoff game against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, Davis was nowhere to be found. Only two weeks after destroying the Suns for 42 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, Davis scored just 13 points in Game 1 on 5-of-16 shooting. DeAndre Ayton outrebounded him 16-to-7, and for the game as a whole, the Lakers were outscored by 18 points when Davis was on the floor. It was perhaps his worst playoff game as a professional, and Davis acknowledged that after the game.

“I missed a ton of shots,” he told reporters after the 99-90 loss. “We missed a ton of shots as a team. Scored 90 points, really 87 because of that AC 3. We missed 11 free throws. 15 3s, nine layups, gave up eight offensive rebounds to Ayton alone. We held their team to 99 points. We played good defensively and we gave them a ton of points as well. A couple in transition, they had 16 transition points in the first half. Second-chance points. We just have to be better on that end, but there’s no way we’re winning a game, let alone a series, with me playing the way I played. So this one is on me. I take full responsibility for sure. We’ll be better in Game 2.”

The Lakers lost Game 1 of their first two series last season as well. In the first round against Portland, Davis shot 8-of-24 from the field. In the second against Houston, the Lakers were outscored by six points with him on the floor. They rebounded to win both of those series thanks in large part to Davis’ excellence. 

But this season, Davis played in only 36 games due to a calf injury. It isn’t clear that he is back to full strength either, and the Lakers aren’t helping matters by clogging the paint with Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell. Davis needs to be better moving forward, but the Lakers need to do a better job of spacing the floor around him if they want to put him in a position to succeed. They did that in the Houston series last season by benching their centers and playing small. Now, they’ll have to re-evaluate their roster again and figure out what they can do to maximize Davis against the Suns. 





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