Daily MVP Film Breakdown: Anthony Davis Dominates the Paint

Anthony Davis put together a masterful performance on Wednesday night, dropping 44 points and 18 rebounds in a 118-114 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The manner in which Davis dominated was particularly unique, especially in today’s NBA. In fact according to Basketball Reference, the Brow did something that nobody has done since the merger in 1973. His 44 and 18 came on a night where he shot just 50 percent from the floor, and he only attempted three shots from long range. Drop the rebound requirement, and he has the only three such games since Dirk Nowitzki in 2009.

Davis scored 30 points in the paint, drew 9 fouls and went 11/11 from the free throw line, and made only one basket from outside the paint for three points. It’s truly remarkable that he managed to score that many points on a night when he hit just 1/11 shots from 8 feet out or further.

Rollin’ With The Homies

This performance from Davis would not have been possible without some solid playmaking from his teammates and some absolutely terrible defense by the Thunder. Oklahoma City came into this game 17-4 since they opened the season with four straight losses boasting the league’s top-rated defense, but over and over again they simply forgot about the seven-foot All Star rolling to the basket.

Steven Adams is usually a pretty stout rim protector, but Davis lost him in the high pick and roll possession after possession.

The action worked even better when Davis got favorable switches, and nobody was able to stop the layup line and dunk show he put on in the pick and roll.

44-Point Brick Factory

Davis needed all the help he could get from the Thunder defense on a night when his jump shot wouldn’t have hit the swamp if he shot it off an airboat. He’s capable of hitting outside jumpers, but not on this night. If the shot wasn’t at the rim he missed more than nine times out of ten, and missed badly.

This wide open three barely grazed the net as it fell woefully short.

Hustle Hard

AD made up for his lack of shooting with hustle. In addition to setting hard screens and diving to the cup, he got out running in transition, taking full advantage of the defense that forgot about him far too many times.

On this break after a made basket, Davis quickly reads Adams vacating the lane and immediately sprints through it. A man that big running that fast, jumping that high, and dunking that hard is just beautiful to see.

Davis also showed grit and determination cleaning the offensive glass. He scored 14 of his team’s 18 second chance points, and he rebounded four of his own misses to get three baskets. All six of his offensive rebounds came in the second half.

Here he misses a shot in the paint and then tips it up twice before it goes in. In a close game, he refused to be denied at the rim.

On consecutive possessions late in the fourth quarter, Davis missed a shot over Adams but recovered to make the shot. That’s just the kind of weird but beautiful night he had.

Anthony Davis showed that you don’t need a jumper to drop 44 in an NBA game today. You just need to be one of the most athletic people in the world, stand seven feet tall with a plus wingspan, and play against a defense that repeatedly forgets those things no matter how many times you remind them.

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