The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t at their best against the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs today. A pretty obvious reason for that was an especially rough outing by Lakers star Anthony Davis.
Davis got more minutes than any other Laker, but rewarded head coach Frank Vogel with just 13 points after going 5-for-16 on field goals. He added seven rebounds and two assists. But the stats really don’t tell the whole story.
LeBron James was able to pick up some of the slack with 18 points and 10 rebounds. But not a single Laker was able to reach 20 points.
The Suns, meanwhile, got superb performances from Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker. They combined for 55 points en route to a 99-90 win over the Lakers.
But Ayton stood out as the main culprit for Anthony Davis’ struggles. Just about everyone recognized that Ayton simply dominated the All-Star forward.
Anthony Davis isn’t this disengaged by accident. Had the life pummeled out of him by Deandre Ayton on both ends all damn day. Can’t believe i just typed that sentence and it’s actually true but give the man his credit, looks so improved from his rookie season.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 23, 2021
Deandre Ayton destroyed Anthony Davis today.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 23, 2021
Anthony Davis: *tries anything*
Deandre Ayton: pic.twitter.com/3coM29ESLr
— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) May 23, 2021
Anthony Davis: game-low -18
Deandre Ayton: game-high +16
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) May 23, 2021
Even Lakers legend Magic Johnson conceded that Ayton outplayed Davis in a big way.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker looked awesome in his first playoff game, scoring 34 points in the Suns 99-90 win. He had help from Deandre Ayton, who outplayed Lakers big man Anthony Davis, scoring 21 points and 16 rebounds.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 23, 2021
Some have pointed out that Anthony Davis has been struggling since returning from an injury in late-April. His shooting did decline noticeably over the last 14 games.
We’ll find out in a couple of days whether today’s performance was a fluke, a continuing trend, or just Deandre Ayton balling out.
Will we see Anthony Davis recover in Game 2, or is he becoming a liability for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Game 2 of the Lakers-Suns series will be played on Tuesday at Phoenix Suns Arena.