Anthony Davis knows containing Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers will be no easy feat for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lillard put Portland on his back in the NBA Bubble’s eight seeding games, scorching team’s night in and night out. The five-time All-Star dropped 40 points in four of the seeding games, including a 51-point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers and a 61-point outing against the Dallas Mavericks, en route to securing the NBA’s Bubble MVP nod.
Davis had a lot of praise for the Trail Blazers star, who continues to elevate his game inside the bubble.
Dame took home the bubble MVP award after averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists while shooting 43.6 percent from deep during the eight seeding games.
During those contests, Portland went 6-2, playing its way past eight-seeded Memphis, clinching sole possession of the final playoff spot in the West and fending off the Grizzlies in the NBA’s first play-in game tournament.
Now the Lillard led Trail Blazers will face Davis and the top-seeded Lakers in the opening round.
Portland went 1-2 against LA this season with the two teams’ last meeting coming on January 31, in the first Lakers game back after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Dame channeled his inner Mamba Mentality, pouring 48 points and 10 assists on the Lakers. Davis had 37 points and 16 points.
The Trail Blazers are a different team inside the Orlando bubble. Twin towers Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins have returned to the court, and Carmelo Anthony, who sat out of the Jan. 31 game, has been especially clutch in crunch time.
But as AD mentioned, the Lakers are focused on the Trail Blazers form in the bubble games rather than the previous matchups.
“We have to focus on the nine games that they played here in the bubble, while still looking at what we did do to get those wins against them during the regular season,” Davis said.
Frank Vogel will certainly have his hands full trying to come up with a way to slow down Lillard and company come Tuesday.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon]