ABOUT 10 days ago Anthony Davis had only played in four playoff games. Fast forward to the present and he has doubled that total and this time he is on the other side of the sweep. After ending Portland’s season with a Game 4 win, AD and his Pelicans teammates are celebrating the franchises first series win since 2008, and they aren’t done yet.
IF you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest NBA articles and follow my fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!
I plan on giving talking about Davis a ton in this article but let me give a quick shoutout to Jrue Holiday. He and Davis look like the best duo in the playoffs right now with Holiday locking down Lillard and holding him to 35% shooting and just 18.5 PPG. This is all while Jrue averaged 27.8 PPG and proved he is worth every dollar of his new 5 year, $126mil extension.
LIKE I said though this piece is mainly about Davis and the herculean effort he just put forward in four games. I’ll be honest I’m not surprised that he put up these mind-boggling numbers, but I am surprised that New Orleans managed to sweep Portland. Over the four games, Anthony Davis averaged 33 points and 12 rebounds becoming just the second player since Hakeem in 1987-88 to average those numbers in a first-round sweep.
Image from slamonline.com
WE always knew that Davis was capable of these types of performances, with absurd box scores a regular feature from ‘The Brow’. To do so against a team was (supposedly) a good defensive unit and to do so without his main sidekick in DeMarcus Cousins is pretty impressive though. Thanks to the success in this series the 5x All-Star now averages over 32 points a game for his playoffs career, joining Michael Jordan as just the second player in NBA history with a 30+ PPG average in the postseason. Sure, it’s a small sample size but Anthony Davis isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
WE have long waited for Davis to have an adequate supporting cast to help him add to his postseason success and for the first time ever he has a series win to his name. Again the aforementioned Holiday and the likes of Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo have balled out, but AD is the reason the Pels swept the series. If he wasn’t playing at that high level they may have still won the series, but there’s no doubt they couldn’t have swept without Davis killing the Blazers.
GAME 4 was probably the best game of Davis’ career as he poured in 47 points, a new Pelicans postseason record. For the series he went about his business as he liked, destroying Portland’s frontcourt and converting about 53 alley-oops (this may or may not be an accurate number) with Rajon Rondo. At just 25 years old there is no doubt Davis can maintain this torrid pace for a few seasons and there is an even scarier prospect I want to put forward. He might still be getting better.
SIGN me up for as much Anthony Davis dominance as possible. There is a realistic possibility that he could become our generation’s version of Hakeem Olajuwon as he stuffs the stat sheet like he’s playing rookie-level on 2K. The big thing holding him back from being compared to the Rockets all-time great is the postseason success. This is just the second time in six seasons that Davis has made the playoffs and he needs to string a handful of appearances together now. Will that include Boogie or not? Tough to tell at this point as Davis seems to thrive when Cousins isn’t playing.
NOT including the playoffs Davis averaged 26.5 points + 10.4 rebounds with Cousins and 30.2 points + 11.9 rebounds without him. This transcendent star might be fine on his own in the frontcourt if he can get help from the rest of the roster like he did in the Portland series. But this is a discussion for another day.
Image from sportzi.us
LOOKING forward the Pelicans will probably have a date with the Golden State Warriors, who swept Davis and Co in 2015, his only other playoff appearance to date. This time is different from that one hit wonder though and with Davis playing the way he is right now we shouldn’t be expecting another 4-0 whitewash. Will NOLA beat Dub Nation? Unlikely. Could NOLA beat Dub Nation? Absolutely. If the Pels can keep feeding the hot hand in Anthony Davis and get support from the others on his team then the biggest upset of the playoffs could become a reality.
Banner from theringer.com