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#pounditMonday, June 27, 2022

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis trolls Russell Westbrook over turnovers

Anthony Davis in his Lakers uniform

Russell Westbrook has had a bit of a shaky start to his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, particularly with turning the ball over. Anthony Davis says Westbrook’s teammates are trying to help him address that problem.

After the Lakers’ 120-117 overtime win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, Davis told reporters that he and some other players spoke with Westbrook to see how they can help him cut down on the turnovers. Davis initially said the progress “showed tonight,” but he then quickly realized that Westbrook had eight turnovers in the game. There was nothing left to do at that point but troll his teammate.

After realizing Westbrook still had quite a few turnovers in the win, Davis joked that at least it wasn’t a “quadruple-double.”

Westbrook is averaging nearly a triple-double this season with 19.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game. He has also averaged 5.3 turnovers per game, which is the most in the NBA by a wide margin. Those so-called quadruple-doubles will hurt more and more as the season goes on.

It would stand to reason that Davis has established a solid relationship with Westbrook, otherwise we doubt he’d be ribbing him like that. Westbrook has already received words of encouragement from LeBron James this season. Perhaps he needs the tough love from Davis.

Photo: 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

Magic Johnson had incredulous reaction to Lakers bench altercation

Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard have a bench altercation

Magic Johnson sounded like a disappointed dad after witnessing the incident on the Los Angeles Lakers bench during Friday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Johnson reacted on Twitter to the altercation between Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard during a timeout in the first half of their 115-105 defeat (video here).

“Dwight Howard and AD got into a physical altercation on the bench,” the retired Lakers legend tweeted. “In my 42 years of being associated with the Lakers organization, I’ve never seen something like that smh.”

Johnson, who was drafted by the Lakers in 1979, summed up the reactions of many to the shocking incident. Teammates get into each other’s faces all the time. But it was very surprising to see the altercation between Davis and Howard turn physical, in a nationally-televised game no less.

The Lakers are now 0-2 to start the regular season after going 0-6 during the preseason. The microscope will only intensify further if they continue to lose. At least the Lakers succeeded in getting Johnson to show more emotion than he usually does on Twitter.

Video: Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard have altercation on Lakers bench

Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard have a bench altercation

It took all of two games for the new-look Los Angeles Lakers to have their first public episode.

The Lakers fell behind by double digits to the Phoenix Suns in the first half on Friday. During a timeout, teammates Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into an altercation on the bench. Davis yelled at the seated Howard, who stood up to confront him. As Howard did so, Davis put his hands on him, and the two had to be separated by teammates. Take a look.

The Lakers lost their season opener to the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week. As for Davis and Howard, they were already teammates during the Lakers’ championship season in 2019-20. Howard then left the Lakers to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers but returned this past offseason.

Bench disagreements between teammates are nothing new in the NBA. But it is rare to see such disagreements turn physical and will only add to the scrutiny facing the Lakers amid their flat start to the season.

Charles Barkley mocks Anthony Davis, Lakers

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley coined a harsh nickname for Anthony Davis when the Los Angeles Lakers star was sidelined with a variety of injuries last season, and the Hall of Famer is making sure it sticks.

The Lakers lost their season opener to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Barkley was highly critical of LeBron James and company, saying they are horrible defensively and mocking them over the age of their roster

Davis looked healthy in the Lakers’ 121-114 loss. He played 39 minutes (the most of any player on either team) and had 33 points and 11 rebounds. Barkley remains skeptical that Davis can stay on the floor, however. He once again called the All-Star big man “Street Clothes.”

Barkley started calling Davis “Street Clothes” last year as a reference to him not suiting up for many games. Sir Charles then played both sides when he criticized the Lakers for allowing Davis to play through an injury. Davis probably felt pressured to play because of commentary like Barkley’s.

The Lakers have heard all of the talk about them being too old to contend, and they are clearly going to try to use it as motivation. Barkley will likely be on their bulletin board all season.

Anthony Davis makes surprising admission about new-look Lakers

Anthony Davis Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are returning just three players from last season’s squad, and one of those players is not deluding himself about how long the team-building process will take.

Lakers star Anthony Davis spoke with reporters on Sunday after the team lost to the Phoenix Suns to fall to 0-4 on the preseason. Davis surprisingly admitted that the Lakers could struggle to start the regular season as well.

“We want to be good, but we don’t want to skip steps,” he said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “You can’t rush the process of what we’re trying to do and win championships. We know, possibly, there could be struggles to start the season. But we never wanna get out to a slow start — 0-5, 0-6, whatever. We still want to be able to fight through our mistakes while winning games.”

While the Lakers’ Big Three of Davis, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook has yet to play together, the early returns have not been encouraging. The team has a minus-74 point differential in their four preseason losses. In addition, they have already lost two rotation players in Trevor Ariza and Talen Horton-Tucker to fairly significant injuries.

On the bright side, the Lakers do seem to be taking their preparation for the season very seriously. With so many new pieces to integrate, they may have to take a page out of the Philadelphia 76ers’ book and trust the process.

Photo: 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

Lakers working out Anthony Davis’ ex-USA Basketball teammate

Anthony Davis Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers brought in an old buddy of LeBron James’ earlier this offseason when they signed Carmelo Anthony. Now they could be signing an old buddy of Anthony Davis’ next.

Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported on Monday that free agent big man Kenneth Faried is working out for the Lakers this week.

The 31-year-old Faried, nicknamed “The Manimal,” rose to prominence with the Denver Nuggets in the 2010s but has been out of the league since 2019. He used to be teammates with Davis on the international stage however. The two big men were part of the USA Basketball team that won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Faried and Davis were Team USA’s two leading rebounders that year.

In 2021 though, it is hard to tell where Faried would fit in with the Lakers. He fell out of the NBA’s good graces due to his inability to hit the three or to protect the rim. While Faried is a ferocious rebounder and lob-catcher, the Lakers already have two players with that same skillset in DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. At 6-foot-8, Faried is also smaller than both of them. Still, Faried has a much better chance of getting the Lakers’ last roster spot than this other guy who wants it.

LeBron James clowns Packers fan Anthony Davis over team’s blowout loss

Anthony Davis Lakers

Anthony Davis might be the butt of a lot of jokes during this week’s Taco Tuesday at LeBron James’ house.

The Green Bay Packers began their season with an absolutely embarrassing 38-3 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The loss was the team’s biggest ever in a game started by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James proceeded to troll his teammate Davis, who is a big Packers fan, over the loss. James tweeted that someone needed to check in on Davis, adding roughly four million emojis for emphasis.

Though Davis is from Chicago, he is a proud supporter of the Packers. He has attended many games in Green Bay and has even repped the team during Lakers press conferences.

The Packers players are already getting memed enough for the blowout loss. Now even their supporters are getting clowned too.

Anthony Davis wasn’t happy playing with Dennis Schroder?

Anthony Davis Lakers

Long before Dennis Schroder completely bungled his free agency this summer, the veteran point guard rejected a lucrative contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers. It is fair to wonder if Anthony Davis is pleased with the way things turned out.

According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Davis was frustrated at times last season with some of the looks he got (or didn’t get) when Schroder was running the Lakers’ offense. Davis was apparently a lot more pleased with the way the offense ran with Rajon Rondo two years ago.

The Lakers, of course, re-signed Rondo this offseason. Pincus notes that they consider the veteran point guard to be a “safety net” of sorts behind inexperienced guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn. L.A. also sees the value in having a proven backup with LeBron James soon turning 37 and having battled some injuries in recent years.

Russell Westbrook will obviously be in charge of the Lakers’ offense next season, but Rondo gives them a proven veteran for a variety of situations.

The Lakers could have brought Schroder back. He ended up signing with the Boston Celtics for the $5.9 million mid-level exception, so L.A. had the option of signing him to the same type of deal. They chose not to, which makes you wonder if Davis played a role in the decision.

Anthony Davis Ruffles get negative attention online during storm

Anthony Davis Lakers

Anthony Davis is catching stray bullets even during a hurricane.

A video clip went viral online this weekend. It shows someone filming the empty shelves at a grocery store, purportedly in Louisiana. The store is devoid of food with residents preparing for the onset of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm.

Even during a Category 4 storm, people are still taking shots at Davis.

The person who recorded the video noted that about the only items remaining on the shelves were bags of Anthony Davis Ruffles, which are lime and jalapeno flavored.

Is it possible that nobody wanted the odd combination of lime and jalapeno during a storm? Or is this just an example of how despised Davis is in Louisiana after forcing his way out of New Orleans to the Lakers?

Whatever the case, it can’t be comforting for Davis to receive this kind of shade even during such a destructive time around Louisiana and Mississippi. But we know that the way Davis forced his way out of New Orleans did not sit well with many.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis lobbied Lakers to keep Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley barely played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it’s quite clear that his departure from the team is viewed as a big blow by the team’s stars.

Speaking to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, Dudley admitted that he had expected to return to the Lakers, saying it was “crazy” that he was not brought back. The 36-year-old added that he had no hard feelings toward the organization, but had tried to convince the team to bring him back to the point that he was willing to play on a non-guaranteed contract.

“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” Dudley said. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”

How serious were some Lakers about bringing Dudley back? According to Plaschke, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook all lobbied the front office to keep Dudley, but their overtures were rebuffed. With that option out, Dudley opted to retire and join Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd’s staff as an assistant.

James did not hide his anger at Dudley’s departure when the news came out. Dudley was regarded as a key locker room presence who kept the team’s stars on the same page and was widely beloved by teammates. Given his eagerness to return, it’s surprising the Lakers weren’t willing to find a way to accommodate him.

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