Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Bryant, Smith

Anthony Davis, the Lakers‘ prize addition last offseason, may be on the verge of winning the Finals MVP award, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. L.A. is getting the type of production from Davis that it envisioned when it sent a package of young talent to New Orleans to acquire him in June of 2019.

Davis turned in a dominant performance in Wednesday’s Game 1 with 34 points — the fourth-highest total by any player in his Finals debut since the merger — along with nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He followed that with 32 points and 14 rebounds Friday night.

“He’s damn near playing like the best player in the game,” said teammate Rajon Rondo. “Hands down. I’m very fortunate he’s on our team this year.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Fans who remember the uneasy relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal don’t have to worry about a repeat with Davis and LeBron James, Medina adds in the same story. James, who played a role in convincing Davis to seek a trade to L.A., told reporters last night that there’s no jealousy between the two stars. “We want the best, seriously, every single day, both on and off the floor, for one another,” he said. “We’re just not jealous of one another. I think that you align that with respect, I think the sky’s the limit.”
  • Long before he joined the Lakers, Davis received valuable lessons from Bryant, notes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Davis was only 19 when he earned a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, where Bryant took him under his wing. They stayed in touch regularly over the years, but Bryant never made a sales pitch to try to get Davis to the Lakers.
  • J.R. Smith hasn’t seen much court time in the playoffs, but he may have an increased role if Danny Green‘s hip remains a concern, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times“Danny was battling a hip injury, and you know, he and KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) were playing well, but were struggling a little bit from the perimeter,” coach Frank Vogel said after Game 2. “So was just looking to see if we can buy a few minutes with J.R. because of Danny’s injuries, and obviously he carries that threat to knock down a three or a few threes. I just like the threat of him being out there against the zone.”
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