LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis is four games into his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he’s already in good company.
Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Mikan, Shaquille O’Neal — and now AD.
Davis had the fourth 40-point, 20-rebound game of his seven-year career and set a franchise record with 26 made free throws as the Lakers rallied in the second half for a convincing 120-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
He joined those Laker greats as LA players to get 40 points and 20 rebounds.
“It’s an honor to be on that list with those legends but more important is we got the win,” said Davis, who was 26 of 27 from the line. “It was a grind in the first half and my teammates trusted me. I just tried to be a monster on the glass.”
It is Davis’ first 40-20 game since 2016. He’s the first Laker to do it since O’Neal in 2003.
Davis played only 31 minutes. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player to have a 40-20 game in 31 minutes or less since 1954-55. Prior to Davis, the quickest 40-20 game was 33 minutes by Baylor in 1961.
Davis is also the fourth player in league history, and first since Michael Jordan in 1987, to make 26 or more free throws.
“This solidifies why we went out and got him. He was big time for us,” said LeBron James, who scored 23 points for the Lakers. Los Angeles is off to its first 3-1 start since winning its first eight in 2010.
Davis was questionable two hours before the game due to a right shoulder injury suffered in Sunday’s win over Charlotte. He did some dribbling and shooting on the court before being cleared.
Davis had 16 points and nine rebounds in the first quarter but went back to the locker room at the start of the second to get the shoulder checked and re-taped. Coach Frank Vogel thought he might have to go the rest of the game without Davis until he saw him come back to the bench.
“He gutted it out playing in some pain and was dominant. They didn’t have an answer and he was terrific,” Vogel said.
Los Angeles trailed for most of the first half but took a 49-47 lead into the locker room at halftime when Davis grabbed a rebound, drove down the court and tipped in his own miss at the buzzer.
The Grizzlies (1-3) led 65-59 with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter when the Lakers went on a 27-2 run to close out the quarter. Davis scored 16 points during the rally, with all but two coming at the line. The final 10 Lakers points in the quarter came via Davis’ free throws.
“Everyone was playing well,” Davis said. “I was just trying to be aggressive. It was a close game until the third quarter. I knew some of their players were in foul trouble and tried to get them out of the game. “
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins agreed with Davis’ sentiment, saying “I thought he was super aggressive, and you are rewarded when you are aggressive.”
Davis said his shoulder was still sore after the game, but he thinks it will improve since the Lakers have a couple days off.
Memphis raced to a 15-2 lead before Los Angeles started to work its way back. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 16 points, and Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and 11 boards.
Morant, who was the second pick in the June draft, had only three points in the first half before finding his groove in the second.
“Coming into an environment like this we have to play all four quarters,” Morant said. “It was wow moment coming in (facing James and Davis) but I was still trying to go out and play my game.”
Heat 112, Hawks 97
In Miami, Jimmy Butler made his first four shots and scored 21 in his Heat debut, rookie Tyler Herro scored 29 and the Miami defeated Atlanta in a game where Hawks star Trae Young left early in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle.
The 19-year-old Herro had a 19-point second quarter for the Heat, while fellow reserve Goran Dragic scored 21. Bam Adebayo had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Miami and Kendrick Nunn finished with 17.
Young left with 9:56 remaining in the first half, turning his ankle when he landed on the foot of the Heat’s Justise Winslow. The reigning Eastern Conference player of the week — who had 102 points in Atlanta’s first three games — finished with five points in 11 minutes.
John Collins scored 30 for Atlanta, including a career-best five 3-pointers, and Jabari Parker finished with 12 for the Hawks.
Butler missed the first three games of the season while celebrating the birth of his daughter Rylee. He was 5-for-11 from the floor, and went 10-for-15 from the line. As a team, Miami was 33-for-45 from the line — compared with 16-for-24 by Atlanta at the stripe.
Mavericks 109, Nuggets 106
In Denver, Maxi Kleber had 14 points, seven rebounds and a key block late to help the Dallas beat the Nuggets.
Nine Mavericks players scored in double figures on a night their two top scorers were held in check. Luca Doncic scored 12 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Nikola Jokic had his second triple-double of the season, with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and Paul Millsap had 23 points and eight rebounds. Will Barton scored 19 but it wasn’t enough to prevent Denver from losing its first game of the season.
The Mavericks rallied from 11 down in the third quarter on the strength of their support players. They did most of their damage after Denver took a nine-point lead late in the third quarter. Tim Hardaway Jr., who finished with 14 points, hit three 3-pointers and Dorian Finney-Smith two during a 30-10 run that gave Dallas a 103-94 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5