Lakers may have found their formula for success
December 16, 2021
Ferruccio Lamborghini had his engine schematics. Mansa Musa had the stars and after their 117-102 victory last week at the Staples Center over the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers may have found their blueprint for success. The quandary at hand is will Los Angeles adhere to what works moving forward.
Anthony Davis meandered through the first half like a disinterested art critic at the Getty Center at the start of the game. He went one-for-three, scoring only three points in the first quarter.
He was baptized and posterized by Celtics center Robert Williams III -- twice. Davis appeared shaken, passive, and timid. The Laker big slightly impacted the game when the first half concluded, scoring seven points on five shots. But LeBron James showed why he's the driver to get Davis' engine humming.
"Just coming out, I mean, teammates stayed in my ear. Bron told me to scrap it. Everybody was saying, 'It's one half. Second half, let's go.' Tried to be a little more aggressive," Davis said.
Davis started the second half like a man possessed. In the third quarter, he scored eight points and snagged four rebounds. The most notable difference was the intensity with which Davis played.
After being torched by the Celtics for 33 points in the first quarter, led by Jason Tatum's 14 points on five-of-seven shooting, the Lakers managed to put the Celtics offense in handcuffs. With Davis setting the defensive tone, Los Angeles held Boston to 43.9% shooting for the game and 30.3% from three-point range.
"Anytime we're able to get stops like that, we're a very, very good team because we're one of the best teams in transition and we have a lot of guys that can attack the paint," James intimated. "We have a lot of guys that can make plays for others. Tonight, was as close to 48 minutes and one of the best games of the season as far as the way we just played."
Throughout the night, the Lakers attacked the backboard, outrebounding the Boston 51-34. Davis led the way with 16 on the night, and Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard each chipped in eight rebounds off the bench.
Russell Westbrook was dynamic. Westbrook had 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter and played with energy the team needed throughout the night. After the game, Westbrook stated what makes this Lakers team exceptional.
"Listen, the game will always tell you what to do. But we have a unique team, as you guys know, and we have guys that can take over a game at any point. And, whether it's me starting off, AD, Bron, whatever, to me obviously the game will tell you what to do. Bron felt like he had it going and it's our job to make sure we find him. AD, vice-versa do the same thing."
For Westbrook, winning is the blueprint. "Tonight, was a way that kind of all laid out and kind of worked out for us. But we don't know. I don't know the blueprint. All I know is that we won. So, if that's the blueprint, then hell yeah, winning is the blueprint."
If Davis can become more commanding and impactful on offense, and if the Lakers commit themselves to hitting the boards and playing staunch defense, they may have found their blueprint to success.
Follow Eric on Twitter @elambsquared and IG @elamb5quared.