Anthony Davis Takes Blame For Lakers' Game 1 Loss to Suns: 'This One Is On Me'May 23, 2021
Anthony Davis had a rough go of it in the Los Angeles Lakers' 99-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, scoring just 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the field.
After the game Davis held himself accountable, saying he was primarily to blame for the Game 1 loss:
LeBron James came to his defense after the game, telling reporters "it's never just one guy, but I love when AD puts that pressure on himself. We're a better team when he's aggressive... But we've all got to be better as well."
"He always responds," James added. "And when AD is AD, we're the Lakers."
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel also defended Davis:
Perhaps the bigger concern for the Lakers than the poor-scoring night was that Suns center DeAndre Ayton (21 points, 16 rebounds) absolutely beasted the block for Phoenix, getting the better of whichever center the Lakers threw his way.
That position remains a question mark for the Lakers, who are pretty clearly the most dangerous when Davis plays at the 5. But the Lakers have abstained from playing him primarily at center, instead giving him minutes at the 4 to avoid the wear-and-tear that comes with banging in the paint on every play.
But every other option the team has at center brings its own questions. The offense has less flow with Andre Drummond in the middle. Montrezl Harrell gets picked on defensively. Marc Gasol has largely fallen out of the rotation.
It wasn't an issue during last year's postseason, when the Lakers largely could play smaller against opponents who didn't have dominant centers (save against the Denver Nuggets, who simply didn't have an answer for James or AD on the other end).
That won't be the case against Phoenix if Ayton continues to play at a high level. That will leave the Lakers with a crucial question—go back to Davis at the 5 and live with the physical play he'll endure, or hope that one of the other center options plays at a high level?
Granted, none of that matters if Davis doesn't raise his level of play. His past excellence would suggest he will. Just don't expect the Suns to make life easy on him.