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#pounditFriday, June 21, 2024

Anthony Davis took Warriors’ late-game strategy ‘personally’

Anthony Davis smiles

Dec 18, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) against the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis helped the Los Angeles Lakers secure a win in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals with some outstanding defense late, and the big man says he was motivated by the Golden State Warriors making a concerted effort to go after him.

The Warriors had the ball trailing 102-101 with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. They got the look they wanted by setting a screen on LeBron James to get Davis to defend Curry. While some would call that a mismatch, Davis and his 6-foot-10 frame put together a masterclass on defending the perimeter and forced Curry into an extremely difficult shot. The two-time MVP missed both that and a second attempt, which Davis also defended.

Davis is two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team, but those honors stemmed mostly from his dominant play in the post. He showed his versatility by locking down Curry.

When asked about the sequence after the game, Davis said he took it “personally” that the Warriors wanted to get Curry matched up on him.

“I pride myself on defense. They wanted, obviously, to switch with me, and I took that personally,” Davis said. “I know what he gets and he likes his step-back (three-pointer). I just wanted to move my puppies, as coach would say. I just wanted to move my puppies and keep him in front and make him take a tough shot, and that’s what I did.”

Lonnie Walker IV received most of the credit for the Lakers’ big Game 4 win, which put them up 3-1 on the Warriors. That praise was more than deserved when you consider what Walker did, but Davis’ late-game defense was equally important.

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