Lakers rout Grizzlies on Davis' historic night

LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis wasn’t going to be stopped tonight.

Not by a sore shoulder, aggravated after being hit in the first quarter. And especially not by a Grizzlies team that sent him to the foul line 27 times.

“They didn’t have an answer for him tonight,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

His performance was historic from many angles, yet it almost didn’t happen.

“He gutted it out, playing in some pain, and he was dominant,” added Vogel.

Vogel said before the game that Davis had been nursing some soreness on his right shoulder, and his presence wasn’t officially confirmed until about 90 minutes before game time.

Guess it was meant to be, with AD dropping 40 points and 20 rebounds – becoming the first Laker to put up those numbers since Shaquille O’Neal did it on March of 2003 against the Celtics.

“I’m here to be one of the leaders of the team and it’s tough for me to do that on the sideline, so I’d rather see how it feels, go play and lead in that way," Davis said during his walk-off interview.

The Brow also notched the “quickest” 40-20 game in NBA history, requiring just 31 minutes to do the deed. And yes, he comfortably watched the fourth quarter from the bench as the Lakers put the finishing touches on a dominating second half en route to a 29-point victory.

The game, however, was a lot closer than the final score – at least in the first half.

A sluggish defense gave up 32 points in the opening quarter, with AD keeping the team afloat during with 16 points and nine boards. And after playing all 12 minutes and heading to the locker room to re-tape his shoulder, Memphis made its move, establishing a 5-point lead early in the second.

The rest of the story, from a team standpoint, is very similar to what happened against the Jazz and Hornets. The defense got activated, holding the Grizzlies to a combined 35 points between the second and third quarters.

And the offense eventually joined the party, with Davis leading the charge again.

The former Pelican took and made just one shot in the third, but he sure wasn’t being shy. Davis went to the line 18 times and made all of them in one of the most unstoppable quarters of basketball in recent memory.

He was fouled on drives. He was fouled on the post. He was even fouled by players from 5* different countries.

*USA, Serbia, Brazil, Canada & Lithuania.

In the midst of all that, the Lakers broke the game open with a 22-0 run, keeping the Grizzlies scoreless during a 6:36 stretch.

The final period was just the cherry on top, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13 points) putting behind hit shooting woes, JaVale McGee dunking his way to double digits, and LeBron James leading a delirious crowd from the bench in the waning moments of the night.

Vogel’s squad allowed just 7 three-pointers and 12 fast-break points, limiting Memphis to a frigid 32.6% from the field. And for the third straight game, neither the win nor the tacos were in any peril.

The offense may not be firing on all cylinders yet, but until it gets there, nights like AD’s and a suffocating defense will do the trick.

On to the road trip!