Lakers' Anthony Davis: I Have a Responsibility to Make Things Easier for LeBron

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, stands with forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 117-105. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

On the heels of a 100-93 loss to the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, Los Angeles Lakers superstar big man Anthony Davis discussed the expectations he has for himself.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Davis specifically mentioned taking some of the burden off LeBron James' shoulders:

"There's always going to be critics when you're playing with the best player in the game. My job is to relieve pressure off of him. But I don't listen to what anybody has to say about my play or the play of my teammates. I do have a responsibility to play at a high level and help make things easier for LeBron. We're not panicking. We're going to figure this thing out. Our shots will start to fall."

Davis led the top-seeded Lakers with 28 points and added 11 rebounds Tuesday, while James registered 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists. The duo didn't receive much help from their supporting cast, however.

Kyle Kuzma (14 points) and Danny Green (10 points) were the only other Lakers players to score in double figures. L.A.'s three starters aside from Davis and James combined for just 17 points, 11 rebounds and one assist.

The Lakers also shot the ball poorly in all facets Tuesday. They shot 35.1 percent from the field, 15.6 percent from beyond the arc and 64.5 percent from the free-throw line. The Lakers did a good job against the Blazers defensively by holding them to 39.2 percent from the field, but they managed a respectable 38.2 percent from three and 75.8 percent from the charity stripe.

Davis made it clear that it will be paramount for the Lakers to knock down their open looks in order to come back in the series and be a factor in the playoffs:

"We're getting good looks. It's just a matter of taking our time and knocking them down. That's been our whole little M.O. in the restart, not being able to consistently knock down the three-ball. We shot like 15 percent tonight. We have to make sure that when the ball comes to us, we take our time and knock down the shot. That's the only way we're going to clear that paint. Guys are sinking in the paint and daring us to make shots, and right now we're not doing that. It's just making it tough on everybody."

James and Davis combined to make just one of their 10 three-point attempts, and LeBron also struggled at the free-throw line, going just 4-of-7.

The Lakers entered the playoffs as the favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals after going 52-19 during the regular season.

Portland went 6-2 in the bubble and won its play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies to make the playoffs. Given their hot streak and the amount of talent they possess, the Blazers may be the most dangerous No. 8 seed in NBA history.

The Lakers were well aware of just how dangerous they can be, and there is no question that James and Davis need more help from the supporting cast to overcome the deficit.