LOS ANGELES — Darvin Ham, feeling the pressure of a 2:10 start to his tenure as Los Angeles Lakers coach, received some reassuring words from All-Star star Anthony Davis, who headed into Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
“We had a really good conversation with [Davis] after our last game, our last loss,” Ham said after the Lakers’ 116-103 win over the Nets that started a five-game losing streak. “And he just said, ‘I’ve got your back, Coach.’ And that was huge for me because it’s my first time as a head coach and with a player of that caliber you’re just trying to do everything that’s asked of him.”
Davis had Ham’s back — and Brooklyn’s number — and filled the stat sheet with season-highs in both points (37) and rebounds (18).
Davis, who was already enjoying a rebound season after missing more than half of Lakers games through injuries in the past two seasons, was off in the second half in several recent losses.
Ahead of competition Sunday, Ham said it was up to Davis to fix the lack of touching himself.
“Only he demands the ball,” said Ham. “That’s where it starts.”
For Davis, it actually started before the game. Davis, an avid Green Bay Packers fan, said he was motivated by seeing Green Bay upset the Dallas Cowboys.
“I was watching the Packers game beforehand… and Aaron Rodgers threw a slant to Allen Lazard, he ran about 40 yards. And he started [screaming] and flexing and all that, and it gave me some motivation before the game,” Davis said. “I’m just trying to dominate. be dominant. Knowing that we had to achieve this victory, knowing that a lot of people – especially with [LeBron James] out – a lot of people rely on me to try and get the job done.”
Davis went 15-to-25 from the field — with 23 of his attempts coming in the paint — and 7-to-7 from the free-throw line.
“I was trying to get to the paint and score inside knowing they had limited shot blockers,” Davis said. “If you adjust the screen, our guards will attack downhill, attack [Nic] Claxton or [Markieff] Morris and just put it on the rim. If you miss, I’ve got a guard on me, so I have a shot at an offensive rebound opportunity and score there.”
Individually, Davis had more offensive rebounds (10) than the Nets as a team (eight).
“AD played like a monster tonight,” said Lakers point guard Patrick Beverley. “And everyone played with him.”
The Lakers are hoping to have all available at home in their next game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday for the first time all season.
James has missed the last two inclines with a left groin strain and Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant are yet to make their season debuts while they both recover from thumb surgery.
Due to a scheduling quirk, the Lakers have four non-game days off this week to rest, rehab and prepare for the Pistons.
“We definitely wanted to win tonight. Let’s have a good start to this free week before Friday’s game,” Davis said. “It gives the lads an opportunity to get away from the game for a couple of days and reset and come back with a mentality that we have to let something off of it [wins] in a row.”