There is no escaping a bad night in the bubble.
No going out for a good time. No getting away from the teammates a player feels he let down.
There is only time to ponder it and think about how to correct it.
That’s OK with Anthony Davis.
“I know it’s always beneficial to get away and kind of forget about it, but when you’re here, you have to embrace that,” Davis said Monday.
“You can’t really run from it.”
Anthony Davis had only 15 points in Game 3, 18 fewer than he averaged in the first two games. He was foul-prone early and puzzlingly passive late in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 115-104 loss that cut their lead over the Miami Heat to 2-1.
The forward/center had been perhaps the dominant player in the first two games of the finals and there was no reason to think that wouldn’t continue against an undermanned opponent that was missing its best defensive option against him.
But despite Bam Adebayo‘s absence and nobody else on the Heat roster who should be able to contain him, the 6-foot-10 Davis took only nine shots and had as many turnovers (five) as rebounds.
Los Angeles was outscored by a whopping 26 points when Davis was in the game.
“It sucks just because you know if you play well and had done your job, then you possibly could have won the game,” Davis said.
Game 4 is Tuesday. The Lakers followed their three previous postseason losses by winning the remaining games in each series, and Davis averaged 33 points in the games immediately following those defeats.
LeBron James expects a similar recovery Tuesday.
“I expect him to be AD,” James said.
James didn’t need to say much more to outsiders, because Anthony Davis comes and gets the answers directly from him. He explained that he liked talking to teammates and coaches, who will tell him what improvements are necessary to avoid another poor performance.
Davis largely ignores everyone else.
“The good thing for me, I’m not a big social media guy, so I have it but I don’t really be on it,” he said. “I’m very disciplined to not, especially after nights like last night. A lot of people get caught up in the news and the social media and what everybody is saying. But I don’t really care about it too much.”
Davis’ first-quarter stats in Game 3 would be bad for the last man on the bench in garbage time, let alone a perennial All-Star. He had no shots, four turnovers and two fouls in nearly eight minutes. The Lakers were outscored by 13 points while he was in the game.
It appeared Davis had played his way into a rhythm in the third quarter. He picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes into the period, but coach Frank Vogel left him on the floor rather than sit him down again. Davis went on to play the whole quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
But then he was scoreless in the fourth, taking only one shot and grabbing one rebound in 10 minutes.
He explained that his early fouls had hindered his aggressiveness. After grabbing eight offensive rebounds in Game 2, when he scored on three straight follow shots in the third quarter, Davis had only three on Sunday as he tried to avoid picking up a foul for jumping over an opponent’s back.
Still, there were other ways the defensive player of the year runner-up should have been able to impact the game and lessen the workload on James.
He is glad that he doesn’t have to wait long for another chance.
“You look forward to it,” Davis said. “You want to go out there and play well. You want to go out there and help your team win.”