Los Angeles Lakers lose to Clippers on “Ring Night”, 5 Lessons

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 22: (L-R) Anthony Davis #3, LeBron James #23, and Quinn Cook #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose during the 2020 NBA championship ring ceremony before their opening night game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 22: (L-R) Anthony Davis #3, LeBron James #23, and Quinn Cook #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose during the 2020 NBA championship ring ceremony before their opening night game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Anthony Davis also had a solid game. But he looked at times like the ring ceremony was still going on too! 

Anthony Davis has all of the tools to be the best player on the planet. He has the skillset, the physical tools, the defensive instincts and basketball I.Q. to dominate the NBA for the rest of this decade. That is if he decides to. If he combines the qualities that he already possesses with a dominating mindset. It’s over. He put that on display in the last preseason game against Phoenix.

The series of plays in this video here will illustrate how the Lakers will be in trouble if he does not dominate.

  • In the first play, he sized Serge Ibaka up and blew by him, Nicolas Batum made a business decision and AD dunked on the Clippers so hard, the entire organization felt it.
  • The second play, AD is caught watching the ball and was late on rim protection. He died on Zubac’s pick as Kawhi Leonard leaned in for an easy layup. If Leonard thought Davis would be there, it would have been a fade-away jumper.
  • The third play shows Kawhi Leonard blowing by Wesley Matthews for a layup. Look Matthews defense stunk here (More on him later!) but notice AD didn’t move.
  • The fourth play shows AD closing out on a Patrick Beverley 3 pointer. He leaked out while Beverley went for the offensive rebound. Now that AD is gone, there’s no rim protection. Kawhi glides in for the layup. Notice the frustration of Montrezl Harrell. 
  • The fifth play here AD again dies on the Zubac pick. That allows Leonard to dive to the lane with dribble penetration. He gets to his spot and shoots an easy fadeaway jumper over Gasol.
  • The final play shows Davis sizing up Zubac, hitting him with a step-back jumper scoring a basket.

What’s the point of all of this? The Los Angeles Lakers need Anthony Davis to be a dominating factor on both ends. Marc Gasol (More on him later!) will struggle mightily with athletic big men. He struggled in the preseason and he was just awful in this game. With JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard gone, AD will have to make an even stronger effort on his rotations and weak-side defense.

Anthony Davis finished with 18 points (8/15 shooting!), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, but ZERO blocks!

He just wasn’t aggressive enough.

The major story in this game was the newcomers. Some played very well in their debut while others were just bad. Lesson three will shine the light on the ones that played well.