October 6, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Game 4: Postgame
Los Angeles Lakers - 102, Miami Heat - 96
Q. What was the key defensively for you tonight? Where did you focus the most?
ANTHONY DAVIS: I had the task of guarding Jimmy Butler, and so I just tried to be locked in to him. We know that the past -- the last game, he kind of just took over and imposed his will on the game on both ends of the floor, and we just tried to give him a different look. Tried to make him shoot over a contested hand, finish over the length at the rim. Just make it tough for him. It was very easy for him in Game 3. We just wanted to switch it up.
I wanted to use a lot of my energy on the defensive end, knowing the other guys on the team were going to make up the absence for me on the offensive end. The guys did a good job making shots, making plays for our team, especially late game.
Defensively I think we were just better overall. We were locked into what we were doing. We still had mistakes but some of the mistakes we had, we just cover for each other. Mistakes are going to happen. But we seemed like we played with a little bit more sense of urgency tonight.
Q. LeBron said the reason that he texted the guys about how this was a must-win tonight was that part of it was that he felt like this was one of the biggest games of his career. What was your reaction to sort of getting that message from him and how much did you feel sort of the importance of getting this one?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Yeah, I mean, he sent that message, and guys already knew. We felt bad after losing Game 3. We didn't play the way we were supposed to play. So guys were already on edge coming into tonight. We see the message from our leader saying this is a must-win, and he just left it at that. Guys knew coming in that we need to bring our A Game.
Like I said, we kind of already knew that we had to play a certain way and that it was a must-win. We all season said we don't want to be a team that loses two in a row and we have that ability to make that happen. So we were already on edge about coming in and being ready to do whatever we had to do to get this win.
Q. How much of you coming to Los Angeles and playing with the Lakers was the opportunity to learn from LeBron James, but also guys like Rajon Rondo and how they bring moments like tonight out of you when you hit that three?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Yeah, I mean, you know, Bron and Do have been the two guys who have been in my ear a lot throughout those playoffs. These guys have been here. Bron been here numerous times and Do has been here, as well. Those two guys have been in my ear helping me through the journey. My first time here, playing on the big stage in L.A. Those two guys have been very helpful for me just keeping me in the moment, not looking too far ahead, and when I'm playing bad, not getting down. Body language, being a leader, all these things. The credit goes to them of the success I'm having individually, because without them, no telling where I would be. Those two guys have been on my shoulders about almost anything you can think of, trying to help me become a champion.
Q. Jimmy went 5-for-5 in the first quarter, and then I think he went 3-for-12 from then on and there were a lot of possessions with you on him. How much of that defensive switch was on you personally or was it decided by the coaching staff? What's the feeling to make an impact on what Bron calls a must-win game with your defense?
ANTHONY DAVIS: A little bit of both. We just wanted to give him a different look, honestly. We were actioning a lot out of Bron. I just told Bron, I'll take him. You're coming down and we want you to run the screen-and-roll, get in the paint, get fouled, find guys, get back, guard Jimmy. Like I'll take some of that load off of him and I'll guard him, and if I pick up a quick foul, then you take him. If Markieff comes in, he takes him. But I wasn't in foul trouble tonight, and I was able to stay on him most of the game.
Coming in with the mindset of knowing what he just did to us Game 3, very easy for him. The floor was very open. He got what he wanted. And me coming in, knowing that I was guarding him, I just wanted to take all that away and just make it difficult for him. I just did that to the best of my ability tonight.
Q. Given the way the Heat won Game 3 and the players they were without, sort of seemed like after that game, they were willing to outwork you for that particular win. Did you feel that? And how much motivation did that give you for this game?
ANTHONY DAVIS: As a team, we never want to be outworked. We always say that, you know, if we're the team that's more physical, the hardest-working team, we really have a great chance of winning basketball games, especially with the talent that we have.
We feel like we got bullied. We feel like we got outworked. They are more scrappier than us, and we didn't really like that. We saw it on film. They were doing whatever they wanted, especially Jimmy. Like I said, we didn't like it. So we wanted to come out to be demanding on the defensive end, demanding on the offensive end, playing with great battle on the floor, loose balls, talking, being scrappy. We were able to do that tonight.
If we play like that every game, you know, especially next game, then we're going to become champions.
Q. I know a lot of you guys didn't play on the same team as each other last year, but a lot of the individual players on this Lakers team didn't have the best defensive numbers of their career going into this season. How did Frank Vogel emphasize defense right from the start of training camp, and how were guys able to raise their game in ways they had not in the previous few years?
ANTHONY DAVIS: He got on us day one about defense. Guys know he's a defensive-minded coach, and we know that if we want to win, we’re going to have to play defense. Obviously offense, you can look at teams, you know, when I was in New Orleans, Alvin [Gentry] used to say it all the time, he used to preach defense. I had the best offensive team, we would score 130 and would never get past the second round of the Western Conference because we didn't play defense.
You hear the cliché all the time, defense wins championships. In order for you to win, you have to defend. That's what we try to do. He told us from day one that we’re going to being a defensive-minded team because that leads to fast-break points. We want to run, we want to get stops and run and the only way you can run is if you get stops.
So guys just kind of bought into it. We trust him and we trust each other, we can trust each other on rotations. Guys are talking, and that's why we get so upset when we have defensive breakdowns, not more so offensively, but defensively, because we know what we're capable of doing. Guys take pride in their defense. You know, we work on defense every day in practice. We for sure are going to do defense because guys want to be better at it, and we know it's going to help us get to our goal.
Q. There were a few plays where you took some hits to your eye, the fall. How are you holding up from those, and what was the key in playing through those things?
ANTHONY DAVIS: I'm not going to come out of the game. I'm fine. Just happened. It's basketball. It's the Finals. The game is physical. Plays happen where guys get hit, but you've got to be willing to leave it out on the floor. JaVale told us before the game, we should come back into the locker room exhausted, leave it all out on the floor.
It was just some random plays. I happened to get hit in the eye. Then get hit in the leg by AC [Alex Caruso], but just got to shake it off and fight through it. We got two days to get back healthy and get ready for Game 5.
Q. Is it common for LeBron to send texts about games, calling them must-wins, or is that the first time he's ever done that this season?
ANTHONY DAVIS: I think that might be the first time for sure here in the bubble. Usually when we played bad, he'll send a text or I'll send a text and just tell guys we're fine. You know, we'll be okay. Things like that. But we usually talk more so in person after the game or in a meeting or something like that.
He's done it before, but you know, like he said, he woke up early in his room with the game on his mind, that we have to win this game, and decided to send a text saying this is a must-win game. And I think after that he said, "That's all I need to say."
Guys came in prepared already. It's more so in person or in a meeting or something like that. It's usually not with a text.
Q. Obviously you guys are one win away from this championship. How do you think the next two days are going to be like for you?
ANTHONY DAVIS: We’re going to watch film. We got some guys who got banged up tonight; they’re going to get healthy. Couple days off to get back right for Game 5.
You know, tomorrow, watch film. Thursday watch film. Go over some things on the court. They are going to make adjustments. We got to be prepared for it. We're going to make adjustments. It's going to be a big two days for us. Come out Game 5 and hopefully finish it off.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports