LeBron James and Anthony Davis played like superstars in the Los Angeles Lakers' “must-win” 109-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday to take home-court advantage and tie the first-round series at 1-1.

Two days after an uninspired Game 1 showing — from LeBron, the Lakers collective, and Davis in particular — Los Angeles responded exactly how you'd expect a veteran team with a championship pedigree to respond: well.

“This was a must-win,” Davis said. “We all came out with that mindset and we were able to get the job done.”

Davis physically imposed his will from the jump. He upped his free-throw attempts from five in Game 1 to 21 in Game 2. He set a career high with 18 made free throws.

In total, AD finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks in 40 minutes. James put up 23 points (9-of-16 FG) and nine rebounds for a plus-14.

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Unlike on Sunday, the Lakers outrebounded the Suns (39-31) and scored more points in the paint (42-40) and in transition (15-4). Aside from a Cameron Payne-fueled run in the fourth, the Lakers led for most of the night.

James and Davis, the title-winning teammates, Space Jam co-stars, and Klutch clients, have developed a distinct off-court bond and on-court chemistry over the past two challenging years. However, in this case, AD didn't need a pep talk from LeBron.

In fact, their synergy may have been most vividly illustrated by what wasn't said as the Lakers awaited Game 2 in Phoenix.

“Really stayed in my room the whole time,” Davis said when asked how he spent the last two days. “Got a little patio, so I was on the patio just listening to music and getting locked in for Game 2, knowing that I couldn’t have that type of performance again. Bron was around me a lot, so he already knew. Didn’t even talk to him that much. And he knows when I do that, then it’s gonna be a good night for me and for our team. So, just trying to stay locked in and knowing that it's gonna be a challenge to repeat, obviously. It’s gonna be a challenge to beat this team. And in order for our team to do that, I’m gonna have to play how I played tonight, or better. I can’t play how I played in Game 1.”

Following his worst game since joining the Lakers, AD had one of the finest big-game outings of his career. His coach was impressed, though not surprised.

“They’re two of the top five players in the NBA,” Frank Vogel said. “We have a formula where those guys really carry a big scoring load — especially at crunch time — and an army of defenders and finishers around them, whether it’s finishing at the 3-point line or at the rim. It's been a good formula so far, and those guys continue to show why they’re great players for stepping up down the stretch.”

Evidently, James didn't need to share a few Lobos on the rocks at the team hotel bar to glean that his teammate was dialed in for Game 2, in part because of his own influence on the All-Star big man.

“For the last two days, very limited communication with AD, because I’ve seen his demeanor.” James shared. “I’ve been in so many battles, so many postseasons: ups, down, even — whatever the case may be. The experience that I have, I just give it to him.”

On Tuesday, James and Davis registered at least seven assists for the first time as teammates, and each hit cold-blooded jumpers down the stretch.

“You just stay even-keeled. You keep it level-headed,” LeBron continued, before going full Lose Yourself. “You worry about the next moment. The next opportunity that you get to be great, and you seize that opportunity.”

James knows that he has matured plenty over his 16 years of postseason experience, and that his accrued wisdom has rubbed off on AD.

“When I was young, I would let it linger way too much about one game in the postseason or two games,” James said. “But as you get older, as you get more games, as you get more experience as you get into the foxhole … you know what to expect. I have the blueprint. I just gave it all to AD.”

James — who has appeared in more playoff games than any player in NBA history yet never trailed 2-0 in a series — was referring to the broader notion of postseason success.

But when it comes to winning basketball games right now, alongside Davis, LeBron has a more direct strategy: “Get him the ball early, often and always. It's that simple.”