Could Davis be the Lakers' new king?

The Lakers' Anthony Davis pulling down a rebound against Grizzlies players (from left) Bruno Caboclo, Grayson Allen and Marko Guduric at the Staples Centre on Tuesday. The hosts won 120-91.
The Lakers' Anthony Davis pulling down a rebound against Grizzlies players (from left) Bruno Caboclo, Grayson Allen and Marko Guduric at the Staples Centre on Tuesday. The hosts won 120-91.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Not since the heady days of Shaquille O'Neal have the Los Angeles Lakers had such a dominant post presence and while it is still early days, the acquisition of Anthony Davis looks more and more like a steal.

They had to trade away a big part of their roster and three first-round picks to land him from the New Orleans Pelicans, but they now have a Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate in their ranks.

Davis became the first Laker to record 40 points and pull down 20 rebounds in a National Basketball Association game since O'Neal did so 16 years ago, as the hosts romped to a 120-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

The Staples Centre crowd rose to their feet as he hit a team-record 26 of 27 free-throw attempts, prompting chants of "MVP, MVP".

His display even relegated LeBron James to a supporting role, with the 15-time All Star playing at point guard to accommodate Davis.

The three-time NBA champion, however, still chipped in with 23 points and eight assists, but the evening was all about the former Pelicans star, whom "King James" hailed as "one of the best power forwards I've ever played with".

Davis, meanwhile, was happy to take centre stage as the Lakers look to end a six-year play-off drought.

"Just wanted to play hard, wanted to go out there and help my team win, and whatever I needed to do, that's what I tried to do," he said.

"I knew we were a little bit flat early on.

"We needed someone to take over and give us a bit of energy and that's what I tried to do."

Separately, a Rockets fan was charged with misdemeanour assault after punching the assistant coach of the Pelicans during Houston's 126-123 win on Saturday.

Manuel Garcia, who has since been banned for life, hit New Orleans' Joe Boylan in the face after the contest, while his girlfriend was also arrested for trying to obstruct police.

In a statement, Harris County District Attorney's Office prosecutor Nathan Beedle said: "We will get to the bottom of this and hold them both accountable for their actions."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2019, with the headline 'Could Davis be the Lakers' new king?'. Print Edition | Subscribe