LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis hit a long floater with 4:39 remaining to reach 50 points for the first time with the Los Angeles Lakers. The shot that got him to the half-century mark was hardly representative of the work that preceded it.
Davis had a relentless series of fast-break points, second-chance opportunities and attacks in the paint that pummeled the Minnesota Timberwolves, a performance Lakers coach Frank Vogel described as a “smash mouth way of getting 50.
“No 3s, 20 for 29, and then living at the free throw line, post ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those types of things. Just an old-school performance and one for the ages,” Vogel said.
Davis had a season-high 50 points and the Lakers improved to a league-best 21-3 with a 142-125 win over the Timberwolves yesterday.
Davis was 20 of 29 from the field and made all 10 of his free throws to go along with seven rebounds and six assists, reaching the 50-point mark for the fourth time in his career.
“It was very special to do something like this in front of these great fans, a historical franchise and my teammates, especially the way we’ve been playing,” Davis said. “It was nothing but amazing.”
LeBron James had 32 points and 13 assists despite committing four fouls in the first half. Alex Caruso added 16 points as the Lakers won their fourth straight and improved to 10-2 at home.
While it looked like it could be a special night for Davis as he hit his first six shots, including a thunderous dunk on a no-look alley-oop from James as he racked up seven of the Lakers’ first nine points, the eighth-year forward was a bit more cautious.
“I mean, I’ve had nights where I started off like that and ended up with 30 and didn’t score in the second half,” Davis said.
But it was evident Davis would keep adding to his total. He was at his most relentless to close the first half, helping fuel an 11-0 run that gave the Lakers a 73-65 lead at the “break after James got his fourth foul with 2:27 left in the second quarter.
Much of Davis’ damage this season had come off the pick-and-roll with James, but Vogel was impressed how he was able to be effective without the Lakers’ primary ball handlers in James or Rajon Rondo on the court. Rondo did not play because of a strained hamstring.
To James, however, it was just Davis doing what he can do.
“He’s had to carry a franchise before, so I don’t think it’s anything foreign to him,” James said.