It didn’t take long for the Lakers‘ new duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to make an impression on the NBA, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Playing their first game together in front of a prime time TV audience, they looked dominant in a 22-point destruction of the Warriors. Although neither played in the second half, Davis finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while James registered 15 points and eight assists.
“AD’s AD,” James said afterward. “I thought he was great from the beginning of the game, just his offset on the offensive end just to be able to get us extra possessions with rebounding. Knocking down shots. I think he had like five dunks in the first half. And communication on the defensive end. He’s a very cerebral player. It was a good start for him.”
The Lakers acquired Davis from the Pelicans in one of the first major moves of the offseason. Although the price was high, with three players and three first-round picks going to New Orleans, L.A. sees th ebig man as part of its foundation for the future and possibly its ticket back to the NBA Finals.
That looks very possible after last night’s debut, which included three straight dunks by Davis in a 43-second stretch of the first quarter. The first came on an offensive rebound, followed by a pick-and-roll with James, then an alley-oop from Rajon Rondo.
“I was just trying to attack the offensive glass and be aggressive and get myself going,” Davis said. “I haven’t played in a while, so I was just trying to do all the little things, and the ball ended up in my hands, so I just went up and dunked it and got myself going.”
New coach Frank Vogel is still figuring out what his starting lineup will look like alongside the two former overall No. 1 picks. Avery Bradley, Danny Green and JaVale McGee started last night, but Vogel said he will continue to experiment throughout the preseason.
Regardless, the focus all season will remain on Davis and James, the Lakers’ premier additions from the past two summers, and whether they can make the franchise one of the NBA’s best again. The early returns are impressive, even to opponents.
“It’s different seeing all those big guys on the floor at the same time,” Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell said. “LeBron playing point alongside those dudes. It’s cool. It looks like a fantasy team or something.”