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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis offers surprising opinion on LeBron James suspension

Anthony Davis in his Lakers uniform

LeBron James was suspended one game for smacking Isaiah Stewart in the face during Sunday night’s Los Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons game. His hard shot at Stewart caused his opponent to bleed and then go crazy on the Lakers. Both players were ejected for their actions.

Most people who watched the incident knew right away that James would be suspended for his harsh and unnecessary blow to Stewart’s face. One person who felt otherwise was Anthony Davis.

The Lakers big man said on Tuesday that he was surprised James got suspended. Davis didn’t view James’ actions as anything unusual.

“The report came out and said his hit to the face caused the incident, which is weird because he can’t control how a guy is going to react. Guys get hit in the face all the time,” Davis said.

If Davis thinks that James’ smack to the face of Stewart was nothing out of the ordinary, he should watch the replay. James took a vicious shot at Stewart that the league called “reckless.” Stewart also wouldn’t have reacted the way he did if the shot from James weren’t significant.

Playing without James on Tuesday, the Lakers lost 106-100 to the Knicks. They are now 9-10.

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 have complaint to league about Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis in his Lakers uniform

Now just .500 on the year, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to the league office with a gripe that they have.

After the Lakers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, coach Frank Vogel said that the team has been in contact with the league about the lack of free throws for Anthony Davis. The eight-time All-Star failed to get to the line a single time against Milwaukee.

“I think Anthony Davis getting zero free throw attempts is a little bit mind boggling,” said Vogel, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “And it’s something we’ve been communicating to the league about.”

Davis entered play Wednesday averaging 6.2 free throw attempts per game, slightly below his career average of 7.0. He also seemed to be particularly upset about a perceived foul by Giannis Antetokounmpo on a dunk that he had in the third quarter.

Of course, Davis’ lack of free throw attempts might just be his own fault. He is playing much more center for the Lakers this season and is often shooting jumpers instead of driving to the hoop against bigger defenders. But Davis and the Lakers are likely just frustrated right now after Wednesday’s game and a bizarre Davis ejection in the game before that.

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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

Anthony Davis ejected over shoe mishap in Lakers loss

Anthony Davis has an issue with his shoe

Anthony Davis had only been ejected once in his career prior to Monday night. That came back in 2017 as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans when he picked up two technical fouls in the first half.

In the Los Angeles Lakers’ 121-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the circumstances were very different.

After falling to the ground on a failed lob attempt from Russell Westbrook, Davis lost his shoe. As he gathered himself and attempted to put it back on, officials allowed play to continue.

Perhaps somewhat understandably, that did not sit well with Davis. He turned to one of the officials and immediately began barking. Without hesitation, Davis was tossed.

The hook was remarkably quick and it stunned Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.

“Typically the ref will let the guy get his shoe on (and) have some common sense. Quick inbound, AD said, ‘that’s BS,’ which happens 15 times in the NBA in every game,” Vogel said after the game, via Spectrum SportsNet. “Quick tech, ejection. I don’t know what to say about that.”

Davis’ late absence didn’t necessarily hurt Los Angeles’ chances of winning. They’re struggling mightily this season and, at 8-7, are drastically underperforming.

Anthony Davis had good reason for rushing to end Lakers game

Anthony Davis in his Lakers uniform

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis came out invigorated for the end of Sunday’s game, and it turns out that he had pretty good reason for doing so.

The Lakers held off a late comeback by the San Antonio Spurs to win 114-106. Though the Spurs got to within two points down the stretch, Davis scored or assisted on the Lakers’ final seven points to seal the victory.

After the game, Davis told Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet that he was rushing to end the game.

“Well I had to put in the ball in my hands so we could hurry up and get the game over with,” said Davis. “It’s 2:46 [PM], my [Green Bay] Packers are playing. We couldn’t go into overtime. I ain’t wanna lose the game and be mad and not watch the Packers. So we had to hurry up and get it done.”

The Packers would score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and beat the Seattle Seahawks 17-0. That means Davis had to be pretty pleased with how his Sunday went.

The eight-time All-Star Davis is a big Packers fan and has taken shots from teammates before because of it. But Davis’ fandom helped him crank up the heat in crunch time against the Spurs, so the Lakers won’t be complaining.

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

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.