LeBron James may end up playing with more teammates than anyone in NBA history, but he’s never found a better fit than Anthony Davis, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Davis dominated Saturday’s in-season tournament finale against Indiana with 41 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and four blocks, though MVP honors went to James, who averaged 26.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game throughout the competition.
The Lakers acquired Davis from New Orleans in a 2019 trade, and McMenamin points out that James has now played alongside him longer than he did with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami or Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland. At the post-game press conference, McMenamin notes, it was clear that their personalities complement each other as much as their styles of play.
“I know who I am, he knows who he is,” James said. “So, there’s no friction. We’re not trying to compete with one another on the court or on a lifestyle basis. He knows who he is, I know who I am. The only thing we’re trying to do is hold each other accountable when we get to work and try to be the best we can be for each other, and when one is not going well, try to pick each other up. There’s no jealousy. There’s not a jealous bone in our bodies. We’re never jealous of one another. Ever.”
There’s more on the Lakers:
L.A.’s tournament performance provides a blueprint for the team to be successful in the playoffs, observes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The Pacers couldn’t stop the James-Davis pick-and-roll combination, and Davis was even more dominant on the defensive end. “Any time I step on the floor, I know I’m the anchor of the defense,” he said. “Giving guys the freedom to press up and get some ball pressure, and if they get beat, I’m there at the rim to alter the shot or block it.”
After Saturday’s game, James singled out Cam Reddish, who is finding a role with the Lakers after unsuccessful stints with Atlanta, New York and Portland, tweets Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report. “People were writing him off,” James said. “I’m so happy he got to experience this and perform. I believe in him.”
The matchup with the Pacers allowed D’Angelo Russell to renew his rivalry with Bruce Brown, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. They faced off in last season’s Western Conference Finals, and Brown, who was with Denver at the time, called Russell “not the best defender.” Russell was animated Saturday night, raising two fingers when Brown picked up his second foul in the first quarter and yelling at Indiana’s bench after he scored. “He was talking s–t all year. Yeah. Talking s–t all year,” Russell said of Brown. “For me, it was just showing it with my play. I don’t have nothing to say to him. I’m a fan of him to be honest. This was just all on the court. Got something to say? Show me on the court. (Nikola) Jokic ain’t there next to you today. It’s different.”