Anthony Davis lifting Lakers into playoff place

The vibes have been typically off. And the inconsistent vibes led to inconsistent play.

It wasn’t the basketball. It was different stuff that made the Lakers the staff that was languishing on the backside of the West with no momentum and fewer hope.

If this looks like a harsh criticism, examine the supply.

This is how Patrick Beverley assessed his former staff on his podcast after the Lakers traded the veteran guard to Orlando.

In the time for the reason that Lakers rebuilt their roster, the vibes now? They’ve been principally immaculate and the constant vitality has led to constant play.

There’s an attention-grabbing query on the core of the Lakers’ current success — 8-3 of their final 11 video games.

Are the Lakers such a contented staff proper now as a result of they’re profitable or are they profitable as a result of they’re such a contented staff?

“It’s both,” Anthony Davis stated Friday night time after the Lakers beat Toronto.

Davis’ efficiency in opposition to the Raptors embodied it, the Lakers’ finest participant comfy with the expertise round him as Toronto loaded up its protection in hopes of holding him corralled.

“He understands what’s working, what’s not working, what’s being given and what’s being taken away. And the way he’s been playing, teams are perked up,” coach Darvin Ham stated Saturday after watching movie. “They’re on high, extra alert towards him and his capabilities and what he’s been doing. So, they’re going to put one, two, three guys around him at all times.

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“… But he’s a smart basketball player. He didn’t get this far by accident. And the way he’s able to navigate all of that and accept what the defense is doing and look for other options… And now, we have a plethora of other options we can go to.”

Anthony Davis shoots over Toronto Raptors ahead Pascal Siakam (43) and ahead O.G. Anunoby (3) through the second half Friday.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Five Lakers scored a minimum of 10 factors whereas Davis had eight in opposition to Toronto. The solely time this season he scored fewer factors was in opposition to Cleveland, when he left the sport minutes after tipoff due to an sickness.

“Seven shots, five shots, no shots, 20 shots — like, as long as we win, I’m fine,” Davis stated Saturday on his thirtieth birthday. “I’m happy. And those guys carried the load a lot last night.”

D’Angelo Russell’s efficiency, with 16 of his 28 factors coming within the fourth quarter, highlighted the win.

“The way we’ve tried to play the entire season, the pace of the game, it fits like a hand in glove with the style of play he has individually as a player,” Ham stated of Russell.

Even LeBron James, who wasn’t on the bench for the final two video games as he tries to work again from his foot harm, voiced his help, tweeting, “Man I love this team!!!” He posted a package deal of highlights from Friday’s win on Instagram, as nicely.

“He’s seen it. He can tell. He watches enough basketball,” Davis stated of James. “We talked after the Memphis game, but he’s always … texting us, ‘Great win,’ things that he sees. So he’s involved even though he’s getting healthy. But like I said, the energy is great, is very high. Guys are happy. Guys are just happy to be winning.”

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The vibe enchancment contained in the locker room has been the results of a mixture of things — the veterans who left, the younger gamers who entered, the elevated sense of urgency and a transparent collective purpose of constructing the playoffs. The Lakers (33-34) are one recreation out of sixth place and a assured playoff spot.

“Communication has been our best friend,” Davis stated.

The ease with which the Lakers have been capable of remedy issues on the fly has been one of the crucial apparent modifications, the gap between dialogue and argument widening for the reason that Lakers rebuilt their roster.

It’s why the staff is in place to personal a .500 report for the primary time since Jan. 25, 2022 with a win Sunday in opposition to the New York Knicks.

“We dug ourselves a hole. And we’re trying to get ourselves out of it,” Davis stated. “It will be good to be .500 and also just get above it for the first time this year. So it was a rough start but we’re changing things around.”