Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has given teammate Anthony Davis plenty of advice about what it's like to play against his former team, but there is always something daunting about following the footsteps of giants. Much like James, Davis left the team that drafted him after seven seasons, though this one happened by means of an offseason trade instead of in free agency.
However, James being specific about his homecoming game might have slipped a little pressure on Davis:
“Bron told me he had like I want to say 39 (points) in his return, so put a little pressure on me,” Davis told ESPN's Dave McMenamin. “Like I said, if we get the win that's more than enough.”
James actually had 38 points, shooting 15-of-25 from the floor and putting out his first mistake-free game of the season as a member of the Miami Heat. That's a tough shoe to fill for Davis, who is likely to be booed end to end during Wednesday's road tilt against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Teammate Rajon Rondo, who also played with Davis in New Orleans in the past, gave him more straightforward goals to meet:
“Just focus on getting the win,” said Rondo. “That's all that matters. You want to go back and beat your home team — or your old team. Just focus on getting the W. And you go from there. Let your game speak for itself. Don't try to press anything. Just be who you are. He doesn't have to go out there and try to score 50 — even though he can do it, probably, any night. Just go out there and get the win.”
Rondo admitted there's a little extra joy by having a big game against a former team, especially for Davis. Yet he insists he will be just fine with adding yet another W:
“S**t, if he wants to have a big game, of course he wants to have a game,” Rondo said. “I just want to get a W. Anybody who is playing against their old team, I want to beat their ass and go from there.”
Davis has already had a 40-point, 20-rebound game early in his Lakers career, but expect him to go into Wednesday's blockbuster game with intentions of doing the same against the Pelicans.