Anthony Davis joins elite company with 30-20 playoff game for LA Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game One
The Golden State Warriors had no answer for Anthony Davis in Game 1 of their second-round series against the LA Lakers.

Anthony Davis stole the thunder from LeBron James and Steph Curry in the LA Lakers’ thrilling Game 1 win over the Golden State Warriors. AD finished with 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

The last time a Laker hit at least 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds was in 2001 when Shaquille O’Neal accomplished the feat three times. Shaq had 44 points and 21 rebounds on May 6 versus the Sacramento Kings. Two days later, he exploded for 43 and 20 against the same opponents.

In Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, O’Neal had 44 points and 20 rebounds. The LA Lakers, however, lost that game in overtime behind Allen Iverson’s 48 big-time points. Los Angeles regrouped and won the next four, giving Shaq his second straight Finals MVP trophy.

It took more than two decades before another NBA player rose to the occasion to join Shaquille O’Neal in elite company. Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 44 points and 20 rebounds on May 13, 2022. The “Greek Freak’s” efforts couldn’t carry the Bucks to a win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of that series.

Almost a year after Antetokounmpo’s brilliant night, Anthony Davis has joined the group. Davis already had 23 points and 11 rebounds after the first half of Game 1 between the LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

Davis also joined Tim Duncan as the only player to tally at least 30 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in the playoffs.

On a night when LeBron James struggled to make shots, Anthony Davis stepped up big time. “King James” finished the night with 22 points, hitting just 9-24 field-goal attempts, including 1-8 from behind the arc. James, though, added 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, James and Davis were the first pair of teammates with 20-10-5 and three blocks in the same postseason game.

Anthony Davis had a historic night in Game 1 but must sustain his form in Game 2

Anthony Davis has been maddeningly inconsistent in the playoffs. He disappeared in Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies when the LA Lakers could have taken a 2-0 lead since Ja Morant was unavailable. Davis was even outplayed by oft-used backup big man Xavier Tillman.

Davis had another so-so performance in Game 4 as the Lakers took a 3-1 lead before the series shifted again to Memphis. Los Angeles won that pivotal game but it was 38-year-old LeBron James who carried the team to the victory.

Anthony Davis has to keep his blistering form up. The Lakers usually have a big chance of winning games if AD plays like a top-five player in the NBA.

Davis' impact wasn’t just on the offensive end and rebounding. He smothered the interior and crushed the Golden State Warriors in that area. AD’s presence helped the Lakers outscore the Warriors 54-28 inside the paint.

The superstar big man disappeared in Game 2 against the Grizzlies. Hopefully, he will lead the LA Lakers against the Warriors in the second game of their series.

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Edited by Michael Macasero
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