LOS ANGELES — Anthony Davis attempted just two shots in the second half of the Lakers’ 114-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, dropping Los Angeles to 2-7 on the season.
“Obviously it starts with AD and gives him more contact,” LeBron James said afterwards. “Our goal is and should always be to make sure he touches the ball throughout possessions, quarters and halves.”
Davis was 4-5 from the field in the first quarter as the Lakers beat an opponent (36-30) in the first frame for the first time this season. Then Davis was just 1 for 2 in the second half as the Lakers scored 36 points in the third and fourth quarters combined.
There were different perspectives offered on the responsibility of involving the talented big man more: his teammates, his coaches or Davis himself.
“To be honest, I don’t know whose main job is,” said Russell Westbrook, who finished with 19 points, 10 assists and seven turnovers as the Lakers’ main ball handler with the second unit. “I’ll leave it to the coaches to find the best way for them to use it.
“When I’m there I do my best to do some readings, I try to make it easy for him when I’m there.”
Lakers coach Darvin Ham put the blame on the players: “These guys are not rookies.” Ham essentially explained that his team’s veterans have free rein to course-correct as they see fit – Davis included.
“We have a playbook. We have a menu and a bunch of sets where AD can be featured,” Ham said. “You just need to be organized.”
It was the second straight game in which Davis’ production dropped after halftime. In Friday’s blowout loss to the Utah Jazz, he scored two points on a 1-for-4 shot after the break, spoiling a night that started with him scoring 20 points on an 8-for-13 shot in the first half. time.
“He has my blessing to shout, call his own number,” Ham said. “We tried to push him forward, we tried to get Bron to do post actions and steps and pick-and-roll stuff. It’s not like we’re not trying.
“And sometimes the game dictates that things go a different way. They go running and then we try to play faster to try and possibly score more. So there are a lot of different variables that come into play. It’s not like, “OK, you just don’t call games for AD.” It’s not.”
Davis declined to speak to reporters after Sunday’s loss. Going into the game, he was optimistic about the Lakers’ potential, despite their early season woes.
“We are not the team that our record shows,” he said after training on Saturday. “Any night our team can play really well and explode for a big night. … I know the teams fear us, that’s for sure. We just have to keep applying the pressure.”
James had a more pragmatic view.
“Our record is our record,” he said on Sunday. “We have played against great teams, very good teams so far to start the season, but our record is our record.”