For Anthony Davis’ 30th birthday: his five best games as a Laker
Happy birthday to Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis, who turned 30 years of age on Saturday.
He is having arguably his best season statistically, as he is averaging a career-high 12.4 rebounds a game, as well as 26.1 points and 2.1 blocked shots per contest while shooting a career-best 56.3 percent from the field.
His free throw shooting, which was mediocre over the past two seasons, is up to 81.0 percent, which is above his career mark of 79.5 percent.
Davis seems to be at the peak of his powers, and although he had just eight points in L.A.’s win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday, he had at least 30 points in four of his previous five games, including a 30-point, 22-rebound effort on Tuesday versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
In honor of another trip around the sun for him, here are his five best games as a member of the Lakers, at least so far:
Oct. 29, 2019 versus the Memphis Grizzlies
The Lakers gave up a lot to get Davis, as they jettisoned Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and multiple draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in the summer of 2019. In fact, some still think they gave up too much to get him.
But he started paying immediate dividends, and in just his fourth regular season game as a Laker, he had a monster performance that the franchise’s previous dominant big men could be proud of.
He obliterated the Grizzlies with 40 points and 20 rebounds, and he shot a shocking 27 free throws while making all but one of them.
In the third quarter alone, Memphis continually fouled Davis as he ran the floor, resulting in him going 18-of-18 from the charity stripe and scoring 20 points.
The Lakers won, 120-91, as they were starting to establish themselves as the best basketball team in the world.
Dec. 8, 2019 versus the Minnesota Timberwolves
Just a few weeks ago, Davis reached an even higher level offensively when Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves came to L.A.
They simply couldn’t do anything to deal with Davis, as he went for 50 points on 20-of-29 shooting, plus seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block in a 142-125 victory.
The win propelled the Lakers to a 21-3 record, and people around the league were starting to realize that perhaps they, and not the Los Angeles Clippers, were becoming the favorites to win the NBA championship.
Game 2 of the 2020 Western Conference Finals
The Denver Nuggets may have been the toughest opponent the Lakers had on their journey to the 2020 NBA championship. Denver featured superstar center Nikola Jokic, who was about to win back-to-back league MVPs, and in Game 2, it gave the Lakers all they could handle.
With a couple of seconds remaining in the contest, they trailed 103-102 when Davis hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer right before the buzzer to win the game and give them a 2-0 series lead.
He finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and he admitted afterward that he did, indeed, yell out the word “Kobe!” after hitting the shot in honor of the recently deceased lakers great.
Game 2 of the 2020 NBA Finals
After making their way to the championship series with relative ease, the Los Angeles Lakers seemed to have the Miami Heat overmatched there.
But the Heat had plenty of heart and fight, and they wouldn’t go down easily.
In Game 2, it took a virtuoso 32-point, 14-rebound outing from Davis to ensure victory. He shot an unbelievable 15-of-20 from the field as Miami had absolutely no answer for him.
Dec. 2, 2022 versus the Milwaukee Bucks
After starting this season 2-10, the Lakers started to build some momentum during the second half of November as Davis was playing some of the best ball of his career.
On Dec. 2, they visited Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, who had won the world championship less than 15 months prior.
Davis rose to the occasion against the two-time MVP, exploding for 44 points on 18-of-27 shooting, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks as L.A. came out on top, 133-129, in a marvelous back-and-forth affair.