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Breaking the bank to get Anthony Davis was a bold move for the Los Angeles Lakers that paid them handsome dividends.
Davis is just what Lebron James needed to make the Lakers a serious title contender and the pair came up with big numbers to give the Lakers their 17th NBA title.
Here are some finals stats of the duo that clearly illustrates why the Lakers would probably not crowned champions without any of the pair in the lineup:
1. Davis averaged 27.7 points in the playoffs while James chipped in 27.6 points a game to become the second Laker duo to win the NBA Finals while both averaging at least 25 points in the postseason. They join Shaquille O’Neal (36.3), and Kobe Bryant (26.8) in 2002 (nba.com/stats)
2. Davis averaged 25 points on 57.7% shooting from the floor, 42.1% from three point distance and 93.8% from the free throw line. He joins Kevin Durant (2017, 2018), Chauncey Billups (2004), Penny Hardaway (2005), and Magic Johnson (1987) as one of five players who averaged at least 20 points a game to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from three point distance, and 90% from the line or better in the NBA Finals. (nba.com/stats)
3. LeBron James’ winning the finals MVP this year make him the 4th player to win finals MVP at age 35 or older. He joins joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Jordan. (ESPN Stats and Info) He also joins Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA History to win at least 4 Finals MVPs and 4 regular season MVPs. (nba.com/stats)
4. LeBron James’ 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists in Game 5 of the NBA Finals marked the 12th time in his career that he led his team in points, rebounds and assists in the finals, the most in NBA history in runaway fashion. Incidentally, Jimmy Butler recorded 35-12-11 to tie Larry Bird for the 2nd-most (3 times) on the same night. (ESPN Stats and Info)
5. LeBron James averaged 27.6 points this finals. Coupled with his 26.3 in Cleveland in 2016, and 30.3.6 in 2012 and 25.9 in 2013 in Miami, he now becomes the only player in NBA history to average over 25 points a game in the playoffs on 3 different franchises’ championship-winning teams. (nba.com/stats)
6. LeBron James averaged 8.5 assists this finals, way ahead of Rajon Rondo’s 5.5. He joins Bob Cousy, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen as the only players in NBA history to lead their team in assists in the NBA Finals for at least four championships! (nba.com/stats)
7. Anthony Davis scored 34 points and LeBron James knotted in 25 in Game 1 of the NBA finals. They are the first Laker duo to score at least 25 points in the same finals game since Kobe Bryant (33) and Shaquille O’Neal (29) in Game 2 of the 2004 NBA Finals. They repeated the same in Games 2 and 5 with Davis pouring 32 and 28 while James accounted for 33 and 40, respectively. (nba.com/stats)
8. The 34 points of Davis in Game 1 victory was the first 30 or more points scored in a NBA Finals game debut since Elgin Baylor also finished with 34 points Game 1 of the 1959 NBA Finals. (nba.com/stats)
His 34 points is also the 3rd-most points scored during a NBA Finals debut in a Laker uniform, behind only Shaquille O’Neal (43 in 2000) and George Mikan (42 in 1949). (ESPN stats and info)
9. Davis followed up his Game 1 efforts with 32-point output in Game 2 to become the first Laker player to score at least 30 points in their first two career NBA Finals games. Only four players have ever done this in NBA history: Kevin Durant (2012), Michael Jordan (1991), Rick Barry (1967) and Hal Greer (1967) (nba.com/stats)
10. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have combined for 542 points, 212 rebounds and 129 assists in their first 10 playoff games together. The only other duos in NBA history to eclipse 500 points, 200 rebounds & 100 assists in their first 10 playoff games are: (1) Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman of the Cincinnati Royals; and (2) Elgin Baylor and Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers. (NBA.com/stats)
11. James joins Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA playoffs history to record at least 250 points, 100 rebounds and 80 assists in their first ten games of a single playoff run. (NBA.com/stats)
12. James greatness will always be defined how he makes his teammates better rather than making buzzer-beaters. Remember his kick out pass to a wide-open Kyle Korver during Game 3 of the 2017 NBA finals? The sequence happened again in a crucial play in Game 5 this year.
During the supposed closeout game, the Lakers had ball while down by one with 12 seconds left. James starts his drive from midcourt and escapes a Heat double team with a semi-clear path towards the paint with a waiting Ben Adebayo ready for a possible block.
He again makes the right basketball play, as he says, by kicking the out to a wide-open Danny Green, who unfortunately front rims his three point shot and the Lakers lost the game.
Fortunately, the Lakers did not have to think about the “what ifs” of this decision like the Cavaliers as they wrapped the series in the next game.
By Armando M. Bolislis