Anthony Davis embodies a new vibe that is making the Lakers grow at the right time

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell, center, celebrates with Anthony Davis, left, and Austin Reaves after hitting a 3-pointer in the second half of a 122-112 win over the Toronto Raptors. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Vibration was sometimes off. And inconsistent vibrations led to inconsistent play.

It wasn’t basketball. Other things did Lakers a team that languished at the bottom of the West with no momentum and less hope.

If this seems like a harsh criticism, check the source.

This is how Patrick Beverley weighed in on his former team on his podcast after The Lakers replaced the veteran with Orlando.

In the time since the Lakers rebuilt their roster, what are the vibes like now? They were mostly flawless and consistent energy led to consistent play.

It’s an interesting question at the heart of the Lakers’ recent success — 8-3 in their last 11 games.

Are the Lakers such a happy team right now because they’re winning or are they winning because they’re such a happy team?

“It’s both,” Anthony Davis he said Friday night after Lakers beat Toronto.

Davis’ performance against the Raptors epitomized that, the Lakers’ best player comfortable with the talent around him as Toronto loaded their defense in hopes of keeping him in check.

“He understands what works, what doesn’t work, what gives and what takes away. And the way he played, the teams were revived,” the coach Darwin Ham he said Saturday after watching the film. “They’re at a high level, they’re very wary of him and his ability and what he’s been doing. So they’re going to put one, two, three guys around him at all times.

“… But he’s a smart basketball player. He didn’t get this far by accident. And the way he’s able to manage all of that and accept what the defense is doing and look for other options … And now, we have a ton of other options to go to.”

Anthony Davis shoots over Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and forward OG Anunoby.

Anthony Davis shoots over Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) and forward OG Anunoby (3) during the second half Friday. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Five Lakers scored at least 10 points, while Davis had eight against Toronto. The only time this season he scored fewer points against Cleveland, when he left the game a few minutes after tip-off due to illness.

“Seven strikes, five strikes, no strikes, 20 strikes — like, as long as we’re winning, I’m good,” Davis said Saturday on his 30th birthday. “I’m happy. And those guys delivered a heavy load last night.”

D’Angelo RussellHis performance, with 16 of his 28 points coming in the fourth quarter, highlighted the victory.

“The way we’ve tried to play all season, the pace of the game, it fits like a glove with the style of play that he has individually as a player,” Ham said of Russell.

Even LeBron Jameswho has not been on the bench for the last two games as he recovers from a foot injury, expressed his support, chatter, “Man I love this team!!!” He also posted a package of highlights from Friday’s win on Instagram.

“He saw it. He knows how to say. He watches enough basketball,” Davis said of James. “We talked after the Memphis game, but he always … texts us ‘Great win,’ things he sees. So it’s on even though it’s getting healthy. But like I said, the energy is great, it’s very high. The boys are happy. The boys are just happy to win.”

The improvement in the atmosphere in the locker room is the result of a combination of factors — veterans leaving, young players coming in, an increased sense of urgency and a clear shared goal of making the playoffs. The Lakers (33-34) are one game out of sixth place and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.

“Communication has been our best friend,” Davis said.

The ease with which the Lakers have been able to solve problems on the fly has been one of the most obvious changes, the distance between discussion and contention deepening since the Lakers rebuilt their roster.

That puts the team in position to own a .500 record for the first time since January 25, 2022 with a win on Sunday against the New York Knicks.

“We dug a hole for ourselves. And we’re trying to get out of it,” Davis said. “It will be good to be .500 and just surpass it for the first time this year. It was a rough start, but we are turning things around.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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