LeBron James: Anthony Davis 'One of Those Unicorns' After Lakers Beat Blazers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) and Anthony Davis (3) celebrate after defeating the Denver Nuggets 124-121 during an NBA basketball game Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

LeBron James praised fellow Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis following his 31-point performance Thursday to carry the team to a crucial 111-88 Game 2 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

James, who made just four of his 11 shots en route to 10 points, explained Davis is in rare air among his current and former teammates.

"I've had some great teammates in my career," James told reporters. "AD is one of those unicorns, and he does things that some of my other great teammates are not capable of doing."

The Blazers scored a 100-93 upset in Game 1. It made Thursday's clash a virtual must-win for L.A. with teams that fall behind 2-0 in a series going on to lose 93.5 percent of the time, per Land of Basketball.

Davis carried the load with 11 rebounds and three assists in addition to his game-high point total. The Lakers as a whole also shot the ball better, making 47.8 percent from the field and knocking down 14 threes after connecting on just five outside shots in the series opener.

The standout forward said a pep talk from James after Game 1 helped him move on:

"I was really down on myself after Game 1. I didn't feel like I performed to the level I needed to. And he let me have my moment and kind of get on myself, and then he talked to me and said I was fine.

"He said it's one game, and as a guy who's won multiple championships and been in these situations before, he knows what to expect. He knew what to expect from his teammates, and he kind of just was there for me to kind of encourage me and keep me levelheaded. Because it was just one game."

Meanwhile, James noted how the often difficult nature of the 2019-20 season has prepared the Lakers for the up-and-down nature of playoff basketball:

"I mean, it started from training camp, to preseason, traveling abroad, to entering the New Year, the tragic death obviously of Kobe [Bryant] and those victims on that helicopter, to the stop of the season, to players getting injured, [Rajon] Rondo going down for a big piece of the year, to the restart, not having our brother Avery Bradley here. And so on and so on. I don't even know. It just feels like it's been three or four different seasons [in one], so I know what we're capable of. I know how we're built."

Only three Blazers reached double figures in scoring, led by Damian Lillard with 18. They shot just 27.6 percent from three-point range and lost the rebounding battle 50-41.

Game 3 carries ample intrigue. Portland, which played terrific in the bubble to secure the final playoff berth in the West, looked prime to shock the basketball world in Game 1. Los Angeles bounced back to look like the dominant top seed it was for most of the regular season in Game 2.

Tip off for the turning-point contest is scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.