Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves came to Anthony Davis’ defense after the star big man had one of his best games this season on Saturday.
Austin Reaves on Anthony Davis going from 10 pts in a L vs. DAL to 32 pts in a W vs. CLE: "Everybody's quick to murder AD when he has an off night. … He's affecting the game more than what the average human is picking up on"
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 26, 2023
Davis scored a season-high 32 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with 23 of those coming in the second half. He also added 13 rebounds, three blocks and two steals to steer the Lakers to a 121-115 victory against LeBron James’ former team.
Folks have been criticizing the eight-time All-Star at various points in the 2023-24 campaign because of his inconsistency. For instance, he had just 10 points in Los Angeles’ three-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He also had two nine-point games earlier in November, both of which the Lakers lost.
Even NBA legend Kevin Garnett had some harsh words for him, saying that Davis has looked 10 years older than he actually is.
Kevin Garnett on Anthony Davis:
“AD looks 40 years old. When I watch Anthony Davis play, he looks like me.”
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) November 22, 2023
To his defense, Davis has shown plenty of positive things to talk about this season. He is still a force to be reckoned with on the boards, hauling in 12.1 rebounds per match. That ranks third in the league behind only Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis. He is also connecting on 54.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and leading the league in blocks with 2.9 rejections per game.
The Lakers have had an impressive stretch recently, winning seven of their last nine contests to rise to seventh place in the Western Conference standings with a 10-7 record. Davis has evidently played a key role in the team’s resurgence.
Reaves also deserves some credit for his fine play in a reserve role. In fact, Los Angeles started to turn things around right after he was moved to the bench. In those nine games, he’s averaged 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per contest while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc.
The undrafted guard from the University of Oklahoma has arguably been the league’s best sixth man so far in the 2023-24 campaign.
It remains to be seen if both Davis and Reaves can maintain their averages or even improve upon them for the remainder of the season. They will likely have to if the Lakers wish to make a successful championship run.