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Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Finals 2020: Putting Anthony Davis' dominant Finals debut into historic context

In his NBA Finals debut, Anthony Davis came to play.

He balled out for a game-high 34 points to go along with his nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks as the Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a comfortable Game 1 victory. The Heat simply had no answer to Davis and the size mismatch he created.

In his 38 minutes, Davis shot 11-of-21 from the field, knocked down two 3-pointers, shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line and was a game-high +23.

With that statline, he became the fifth Laker in franchise history to finish with at least 30/5/5 in Game 1 of an NBA Finals series. His 34 points are the fourth-most scored in an Finals debut since the NBA-ABA merger, trailing only Michael Jordan (36 in 1991), Allen Iverson (48 in 2001) and Kevin Durant (36 in 2012).

"I expect it out of him… we've been preparing for this moment all season," LeBron James said postgame.

The duo of James and Davis became the first Lakers duo to both score 25 points in the Finals since Kobe Bryant (33) and Shaquille O'Neal (29) in Game 2 of the 2004 NBA Finals.

Additionally, only two players in Lakers history scored more points in their Finals debut than Davis.

His performance made him the first Lakers player with at least 30 points in the Finals since Kobe Bryant's 38 in Game 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

"First NBA Finals game, obviously, the nerves was there. A little nervous," Davis told ESPN's Rachel Nichols postgame. "But when the ball is tipped-up, we just go out there and play basketball. I tried to do that tonight."

"The bigger the moment, he's just raising his play," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said about Davis. This isn't the first Davis has stolen the show this postseason.

In the closeout game of the Lakers' first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, AD dominated with 43 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the field. In his Conference Finals debut - Game 1 vs. the Nuggets - he erupted for 37 points. In Game 2 of that series, he knocked down a buzzer-beating game-winner to give the team a 2-0 series lead.

"Very proud of him [Davis]. It takes a lot to get to the level that he is on," Dwight Howard said postgame on Davis. "He's done an amazing job of providing confidence to the rest of the team but also just being that guy in the paint, scoring at will getting rebounds, blocking shots just doing everything as he should."

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