LeBron James Backs Anthony Davis After Lakers' Game 1 Loss: 'He Always Responds'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 23, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Anthony Davis #3 and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 19, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is confident Anthony Davis can quickly move on following a forgettable performance in a 99-90 Game 1 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

James told reporters Davis "always responds" in these types of situations.

The eight-time All-Star had 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting and watched as the Suns claimed a 47-33 edge in rebounding.

Davis was blunt when addressing how he performed.

"There’s no way we’re winning a game, let alone the series, with the way I played today," he said. "It’s on me."

The 28-year-old missed both of his three-pointers and found life around the basket to be difficult thanks to Suns big man Deandre Ayton.

Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry

Ayton held Anthony Davis to 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting as the primary defender, a major reason why Davis finished with just 13 points, tied for his fewest points in a postseason game (@ESPNStatsInfo ) https://t.co/DenkMxWRC2

Over a seven-game series, you'd expect Davis to get the better of that matchup. He's one of the NBA's best frontcourt players, and he didn't shy away from the big stage during the Lakers' championship run one season ago.

Davis averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over 21 games in the bubble. Especially with a day off to prepare, one would expect head coach Frank Vogel and his staff to find a way to get the 6'10" forward more involved.

But the Lakers' Game 1 defeat is another reminder of how small their margin for error is this postseason.

As the top seed in the Western Conference a season ago, Los Angeles simply overmatched everyone en route to the NBA Finals. As the No. 7 seed this time around, the reigning champions have a much tougher road back to the Finals.

Every star is capable of having an off night in the playoffs, and Davis' Game 1 numbers will be forgotten quickly if he dominates for the Lakers as they even things up Tuesday.

But L.A. looks pretty mortal following an injury-ravaged regular season, and the mileage accumulated from last year's title run might be adding up. The Lakers can't afford to see Davis fail to deliver again like he did Sunday.