Ed Davis shoots 150 free throws at practice — and makes 115 of them

One night after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds against Memphis, the Lakers' Ed Davis shot 150 free throws at practice and has shown improvement at the free-throw line. Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

One night after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds against Memphis, the Lakers’ Ed Davis shot 150 free throws at practice and has shown improvement at the free-throw line. Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

By Tony Ciniglio
Daily News staff writer

Ed Davis did not shy away from the free-throw line at Saturday’s practice, one day after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds of a 109-106 loss to Memphis.

Davis said he shot 150 free throws. And maybe more impressively, he made 115.

“You’ve just got to get in the gym more and keep working at it,” Davis said. “I’m glad I got to experience something like that. I wish it was a different outcome, but you live and you learn.”

Davis — shooting 51.7 percent from the free throw line this season — actually finished Friday’s game making 6 of 8 free throws and is 9 of 12 in his last two games since Lakers coach Byron Scott make a small tweak.

“With Ed, I saw one little thing. I moved him over just a tad (to his left). I think it centered him more,” Scott said. “He’s been making it ever since.

“Some of it is technique, some of it is just doing it on a day to day basis. Now it’s just a matter when he gets up there, he feels more comfortable and has that confidence.”

Lakers’ Ed Davis showing consistency on defense, finishing

The images replay over and over again. But like a summer blockbuster that relies heavily on special effects, the action never becomes too boring to watch.

Lakers backup center Ed Davis leaps through the lane with gravity-defying dunks and easy finishes at the basket. Davis also appears to jump off a trampoline when he swats away shots that his opponents throw at the basket. This has happened with so much frequency that Davis leads the Lakers both in field-goal percentage (71.4 percent) and ranks second in the NBA in blocked shots (2.3 per night).

Not a bad audition tape for Davis, who is competing for the backup center position against Robert Sacre. Not a bad message to show the Lakers that he is worthy of a role after signing this offseason to a two-year, $2 million deal. Not a bad effort in showing he could thrive after spending a five-year NBA career with Toronto and Memphis struggling to find a consistent role.

“I’m just playing hard every night,” Davis said. “The NBA is a long year with injuries and guys going down. With trades, you never know what’s going to happen. So you always just have to be ready. That’s what I do. I’m going to be ready every night, if I play 10 minutes or 20 minutes. I’m
going to be ready.”
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Ed Davis looking forward to a “fresh start” with Lakers

All the focus surrounding the Lakers centers on Kobe Bryant’s return. Or on Steve Nash’s health. Or on Byron Scott’s arrival as the Lakers’ head coach. Or on Julius Randle’s development as the Lakers’ prized rookie.

But the Lakers’ success or failure also hinges on how much they can revamp a defense that spent last season allowing teams to score instead of stopping them. So with two weeks into training camp, which Laker has emerged as the defender most capable of bolstering the team’s identity?

“Ed Davis. He’s the guy who has done the best job protecting the rim for us,” Scott said following Monday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “He’s also our best roller and screen setter.”

Perhaps you never heard of Davis. So here’s an introduction. He signed a two-year, $2 million deal this offseason with the Lakers, including a player option for his second season. The 25-year-old Davis averaged about five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes through two seasons with Memphis, a drop off when he netted a career-high 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.5 minutes in his third season in Toronto. As Bleacher Report recently noted, Davis has represented one of seven players to average at least 13 points on 53 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes.

In other words, Davis joins the Lakers riddled with both intriguing possibilities and question marks.

“This is more of a fresh start. Everything that happened before is behind me,” Davis said. “It’s about getting an opportunity and being in the right situation. I’ll do whatever I can to help a team win and provide energy off the bench.”
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