September 18, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Game 1: Postgame
Los Angeles Lakers 126, Denver Nuggets 114
Q. Anthony, before we get to the game, wanted to see if you wanted to follow up on LeBron's thoughts on the MVP, what you saw, first season playing together in the regular season all the way up to the point where you are now?
ANTHONY DAVIS: He deserves it. What he's been able to do for our team, the things he's been doing individually, on a consistent basis, night-in, night-out, just it's not even a question who deserves it.
You know, year 17, doing what he's doing, I'm pretty sure he said everything that I was going to say. But like he said, I think it's just, you know, what people -- the narrative people's giving. They kind of choose the MVP before the season even starts, you know.
And what he's been able to do for us this year, playoffs and regular season I think if you take him off our team -- and we had games, had bad games, where he didn't play. You know, since we're playing different now -- we played Denver in L.A., we'd be up 30.
You take him off our team, the things, the value he brings to our team. That's what it is, Most Valuable Player and I think he's very valuable to our team, and if you take him off our team, we definitely take a hit.
Q. Switching to tonight's game, what did you think was the key with you guys figuring something out defensively? You held Denver to 20 in the second quarter and I think 21 in the third, or vice versa, what did you figure out after their big first quarter?
ANTHONY DAVIS: We just had to lock in defensively. We knew that Jamal and Jokic are going to come out firing, come out trying to score, and we had to make sure that we try and contain them. At times they made some good shots but our coverages was kind of messed up, so we tried to get back to our coverages and do it the right way, and when we did, we got stops.
So just coming out, and especially giving up a 38-point first quarter, that's not our defense. And you know, Coach [Vogel] challenged us to get better on defense in the second, third and fourth quarter, and we were able to lock in and get stops.
Q. When things like happen, a perceived slight towards LeBron, have you seen that manifest itself in any way where it helps his performance and helps your team?
ANTHONY DAVIS: The MVP thing?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Yeah, I mean, he locks in. I mean, he goes into a different mode. I mean, he's already in that mode regardless, because we're trying to win a ring, and I know he'd rather win a ring than an MVP award. But it definitely sparks him and like he got a chip on his shoulder like he got something to prove.
So we see it, and he knows it and the team knows it, and we know that if -- we know he’s going to show it.
Q. I was going to ask an MVP question. You guys were up double-digits for a lot of the game. Obviously you always want to build that when you can, but with Denver and how they have played, is there more of an urgency to make sure you have a lead?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Oh, yeah, for sure. No lead is safe with this team, in the game or in the series. They have proven that they are a second half team where they come out and just destroy teams in the second half, and prove that even if they are down a series, they are a team that's going to be resilient and keep fighting no matter what the score is, what the situation is.
Like I say, we haven't done anything special from our group. We know the type of team they are, and it just puts the emphasis on our focus when we do have the lead, knowing that Jamal can get hot; Jokic can get hot; their pick-and-roll game could get going, the other guys start making shots. When we have a lead, we have to lock in even more.
Q. What did you see from Dwight tonight?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Big minutes. Played extremely well. He was physical with Jokic. Made his free throws. He was great in the pick-and-roll game, stopped them on defense. And just who he is as a person and as a player -- not to play in our last series against Houston, and then come out and be ready to play in the Western Conference Finals. I mean, that speaks volumes for who he is and our team. Guys stay ready. Guys prepare and put in the work, so when their time is called, they are ready, and he came in and played huge minutes for us tonight and helped us get the win.
Q. Do you think there's a fatigue factor in terms of when a guy is so good for so long, he can be overlooked in a sense? And do you think there's a more fair way for the voting to be done?
ANTHONY DAVIS: I don't know, I mean, I don't want to say he's overlooked. He's the best player in the league. I mean, every headline is about LeBron James, and everybody talks about what he's done.
But you look at this year, what he's able to accomplish, regular season and playoffs, it was -- for me it was clear-cut that he was the MVP. I'm not sure how they can do the vote. I mean, you know, I think we can get the players more involved for sure. We’re actually the ones who are out there playing against these guys, and if you look around the league, a lot of the players say LeBron should be MVP. These guys go up against him night-in and night-out and see what he brings to the table and what his value is to our team.
So I think the players for sure should get involved in all the votes.
Q. You guys did a really good job tonight keeping Murray and especially Jokic off the floor, drawing fouls against them, bothering them into fouls. Is that something you can try to strategize as a team or look for ways to do?
ANTHONY DAVIS: No, I mean, we just try to play our style of basketball. Obviously when you have -- when you put their best players in coverage a lot and pick-and-rolls and things like that, it just wears down a player. You know, when they are trying to fight and you've got a battle on the other end, the shots that they usually make tend to be a little short or they look for other guys, just because they are playing on both ends of the floor.
But the game plan is not go out and let's get them in foul trouble. We just played physical tonight and the calls went our way.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports