Lakers news: Anthony Davis on why he took only 7 shots in loss to Raptors
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Lakers’ Anthony Davis explains why he only took 7 shots in loss to Raptors

Anthony Davis, Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers star big man Anthony Davis was assertive in the team’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

Davis scored 34 points in 35 minutes, including 16-for-17 from the free-throw line. It seemed L.A.’s leading scorer had hardly missed a beat despite such a long hiatus.

But Davis was far less aggressive during the Lakers’ loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate scored just 14 points and took only seven shots as the Raptors cruised to a 15-point victory.

However, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Davis was making the right basketball plays. Vogel said AD was aggressive at the right times, but also said there were times when the Lakers simply missed open shots on the perimeter. (via Anthony Slater of The Athletic):

Vogel defended Davis’ passivity. When asked whether Davis must assert himself more aggressively, even against constant over-help, he pointed to Davis’ nine free-throw attempts, a team high.

“I think he maybe shot all nine of his free throws in the third quarter, if not seven or eight,” Vogel said. “So he asserted himself during that stretch. And like I said, they’re great at flooding the paint and not fouling. So you have to play extra-pass basketball.”

Davis didn’t disagree. He said he made the “right reads” despite the wrong results.

“We didn’t shoot the ball extremely well tonight at all from the field or from 3, which kind of let them continue with their game plan of doubling me,” Davis said. “I think if we had made a couple of shots, then they would’ve definitely  changed a little bit.”

Indeed, the Lakers were just 10-for-40 from beyond the arc on Saturday, which seemed to negate the 33 free-throw attempts.

Still, it is hard to ignore the success of Toronto’s strategy. If Davis and James cannot assert their will in the paint, they become overly reliant on players who are not all that efficient from the three-point line.

In any case, Davis and the Lakers will look to bounce back on Monday against the Utah Jazz.