Last night against the Mavericks, Anthony Davis scored 34 of his 48 points in the paint, which established a new career-high mark. Previously, Davis had twice scored exactly 30 points from inside the paint, once on April 4, 2017 against the Nuggets and just over two weeks ago on December 12, 2018 versus the Thunder.
Davis inflicted most of his damage against Dallas in the area nearest the rim all night long as he attempted 19 shots inside the restricted area. For those who had been calling for him to operate more in the post like Fox Sports Analyst David Wesley, AD’s shot chart was truly a thing of beauty.
Coming into last night’s game, Davis was averaging 8.6 shots in the restricted area, good for fifth most in the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo sits atop the NBA with 10.7 attempts, but his personal best mark this season was a 30-point effort against the Pistons on December 17, 2018.
Davis had plenty of worthy highlights, but the following three examples should suffice in showing his utter dominance against the burly Maverick threesome of DeAndre Jordan, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell.
This move in the first quarter was probably my favorite of the night. Davis squared up Powell aggressively, made a forceful move into his body to get five or six feet closer to the rim, hesitated ever so briefly as though perhaps he would offer a jumper of some sort, and then slid under the initial defense — but elevated so quickly and decisively that the oncoming help had no chance to affect the shot.
Here, Davis flat-out barreled right through Powell’s chest all the way to the rim and scored through the contact. Powell isn’t a softie; he’s an athletic and strong big who enjoys the challenge of fighting for every inch. Well, he definitely wound up on the losing end of this battle against Davis.
This last example nicely exhibits Davis’ ability to keep the defender off-balance which eventually results in an open look. Jordan reacted like he had no idea what was coming, and despite his good activity, just momentarily falling for a Davis spin baseline opened up an easy jumper from about eight or so feet away.
Throughout the night, Davis’ footwork, reads and timing were impeccable. The Dallas coaching staff figured they could contain AD well enough with one of their bigs exclusively, but as we witnessed repeatedly, he made them pay dearly time and again for not sending a double team.
While most watched in awe of Luka Doncic giving Jrue Holiday the business and raining three-pointers down from all parts on the floor, the best scoring artistry was witnessed on the block. When Anthony Davis utilizes all of his skills and attributes in such a harmonious fashion, there is no questioning his potential dominance in the game today.