Anthony Davis Is Rising to the Occasion

Liam McKeone
Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Anthony Davis has never done this before. Well, nobody in the bubble has done *this* before, but you know what I mean. Before joining the Los Angeles Lakers last summer, the farthest Davis ever got in the postseason was a second-round gentleman's sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in 2018. There were questions about if Davis would shy away when the lights were brightest, questions that were valid because he simply did not have the chance to prove otherwise.

Now he has gotten that chance, and is definitely proving everyone wrong. The Lakers are up 2-0 on the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals because of the greatness of LeBron James and the greatness of Davis. Because Davis has, without a doubt, been great.

The pressure is always on whoever is LeBron's No. 2 in a given year because every opponent is selling out to stop LeBron and we all know he's going to be great anyway. It's about who can step up beside him. That remained true going into this year's Finals; the Heat are a great team with a lot of strong, athletic forwards to throw at LeBron. But their only answer for Davis is Bam Adebayo. Adebayo is a great defender even if he gives up a few inches in height to Davis. The Lakers would have a chance to win as long as LeBron did his thing, but the difference between winning and dominating was Davis.

In Game 1, he rose to the occasion. He scored 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting, completely destroyed the Heat when Adebayo sat and then had to leave the game due to a neck injury, and terrorized the paint on both ends of the floor all night. Then came Game 2, and along with it the news that Adebayo would be out after his injury in Game 1. The Lakers were heavily favored, but still needed Davis to deliver. And deliver he did.

In Game 2, a game where Davis was expected to dominate because of the absence of Adebayo, the superstar was nearly impeccable. He scored 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, all the while only missing five shots. He finished 15-of-20 in a performance that reminded anyone who forgot just how good he can be. The final score was relatively close, but the end result was never truly in doubt because of Davis.

We've watched Davis do stuff like this on a near-nightly basis for years in New Orleans. Now he's doing it on the biggest stage possible in the purest basketball environment we'll ever see. The man is hooping. It's fun to watch.