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Ring envy aside, Anthony Davis and LeBron James are all good

Lakers stars Anthony Davis (3) and LeBron James talk strategy during a break in a playoff game against the Nuggets.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

LeBron James paused for a few seconds as he considered his answer. He had just been asked about the close, drama-free connection he and Anthony Davis have developed during the 15 months they’ve spent as teammates.

What common ground helps their bond?

“We’re not jealous of each other,” James said. “I think that’s the best thing. In professional sports, you have guys that join forces to become alpha males.

“That’s what they call them. Two guys that have been dominant in a specific sport on their own respective teams, and they get together and they talk about how dominant they can be and they talk about this is going to be this and that. I believe jealousy creeps in a lot. And that is the absolute contrary of what we are.”

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During Game 1 of the NBA Finals, James and Davis became the first Lakers duo to score 25 points each in a Finals game since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2004. Their connection has helped the Lakers all season, and as Davis goes through his first NBA Finals, its importance is showing more and more. It’s one of the many ways that Davis is surrounded by support as he takes on his biggest challenge yet.

“For me personally, having a team like this, a coaching staff like this and a guy like Bron and [Rajon] Rondo and J.R. [Smith] specifically, and Markieff [Morris], who always instills confidence into me,” Davis said. “…When you have guys always talking to you in your ear about greatness and seeing Bron, how great he is and the things he does on the floor, and guys on our team, as well, who do great things on the floor, it makes you want to be better. It makes you want to fit in with that group.”

Lakers center Dwight Howard says he’s found ways with coping with feelings of depression during his 84 days in the NBA’s anti-coronavirus bubble.

These are people who have been touting Davis all year. Rondo spent the season saying he believed Davis deserved to the league’s MVP and defensive player of the year. Morris, Davis said, tells him before every game: “You’re the best player in the world.” They are comments that help reinforce Davis’ belief in himself.

He has even more support in the Finals this year. His parents are in the bubble and were in the family seats for Wednesday’s game.

“He forced my mom to do that seven-day quarantine to be here,” Davis said of his father. “So for him to — he’s always been the one to go to all my games, in the home market, not more so on the road. But he’s extremely proud of me. You know, for him to be here, essentially courtside to watch me in my first Finals game means a lot to me.

“You know, we just got to finish it off. You know, he wants us to win. He wants me to be a champion. So it’s a little bit more pressure coming from him, but it was fun.”

As for the relationship with James, one hallmark of it, Davis said, is that they aren’t afraid to call each other out when that becomes necessary.

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And the lack of jealousy too, Davis said.

The Miami Heat are in full-scale recovery mode after a meltdown in Game 1. Now center Bam Adebayo and point guard Goran Dragic are doubtful for Friday night.

“I think when you’ve got two guys who are very selfless and want to win as bad as both of us want to, the rest of it goes away and just takes care of itself,” Davis said. “Jealousy has never been a thing on our team from anyone. Everyone is extremely excited for the other guy.”

But if he had to pick one thing …

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“That he has a ring,” Davis said, smiling. “But he made a promise to me, and so far he’s kept it. Hopefully I don’t have to be envious of that much longer.”

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