LOS ANGELES – Feeling the pressure of a 2-10 start to the season as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham received some comforting words from All-Star big man Anthony Davis ahead of Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
“I had a very good conversation with [Davis] after our last game, our last loss,” Ham said after the Lakers’ 116-103 win over the Nets that ended a five-game losing streak. “And he just said, ‘I got your back, Coach. “And it was huge for me to be a head coach for the first time and to have a player of this stature who is constantly trying to do everything you ask him to do.”
Davis had Ham’s back — and had Brooklyn’s number, filling the stat sheet with season highs in points (37) and rebounds (18).
Davis, who was already enjoying a rebounding season after missing more than half of Lakers games over the past two seasons due to injury, was missing in the second half in several recent losses.
Ahead of Sunday’s contest, Ham said it was up to Davis to remedy the lack of touches himself.
“Just asking him for the ball,” Ham said. “It starts with that.”
It actually started before the game for Davis. An avid Green Bay Packers fan, Davis said he was fired up watching Green Bay upset the Dallas Cowboys.
“I was watching the Packers game before…and Aaron Rodgers threw a tilt at Allen Lazard, he ran about 40 yards. And he started [screaming] and flexing and all that, and that gave me some motivation going into the game,” Davis said. “I just try to dominate. Be dominant. Knowing that we had to get this win, knowing that a lot of guys — especially with [LeBron James] – a lot of guys are counting on me to try and get the job done.”
Davis went 15 for 25 from the field — with 23 of his attempts inside the paint — and 7 for 7 from the free throw line.
“I was trying to get to the paint and score inside knowing they had limited shot blocking,” Davis said. “When you put the screen on, our guards attack downhill, attack [Nic] Claxton or [Markieff] Morris and just put it on the rim. They miss, and then I have a guard on me, so I have a chance to get an offensive rebound opportunity and get a score there.”
Davis had more offensive rebounds individually (10) than the Nets as a team (eight).
“AD played like a monster tonight,” Lakers point guard Patrick Beverley said. “And everyone played against him.”
The Lakers hope everyone will be available for the first time this season when they play against the Detroit Pistons at home on Friday.
James missed the final two tilts with a sprained left groin, and Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant are yet to make their season debuts as they both recover from thumb surgery.
Due to a scheduling oddity, the Lakers will have four days off this week without a game to rest, rehabilitate and prepare for the Pistons.
“We wanted to win tonight for sure. Let’s feel good going into this week before Friday’s game,” Davis said. “It gives guys a chance to step away from the game for a few days and reset and come back with a mentality that we have to run away from some [wins] in a row.”
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