Anthony Davis’ injury could have potentially cost the Lakers a spot in the second round of the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns tied the series up in LA, winning 102-98.
It is yet to be confirmed whether or not he will miss the next game, but it is likely after his groin strain.
Davis has been the best player on the court for all the Lakers’ victories, without him it is hard to see the Lakers going far.
This is not an excuse for the Lakers, but what people need to remember is the Phoenix Suns are the second seed in the West for a reason. You don’t finish with the second-best record in the NBA for no reason.
Davis dropped 34 points and double-digit rebounds in both of LA’s victories this series. He played just under 40 minutes in their first win, and just over 40 minutes in their second.
Anthony Davis’ injury led to him only playing 19 minutes of the game. If he stays in that game, we could be looking at a completely different series.
Davis impact is felt massively on both ends of the court.
Defensively when it comes to protecting the paint, or even when the Lakers are forced to switch over screens. On offense, he is unstoppable in the paint, as we have seen in games two and three.
Whilst his midrange jumper hasn’t looked as good as it did last year, there’s so much to Davis’ game that he is still so tough to guard.
Can LeBron James Lead the Lakers to the Second Round Despite Anthony Davis’ Injury
As usual, the pressure is on LeBron James. He needs to step up after Anthony Davis’ injury if he misses Game 5. The current level James is playing at isn’t enough.
Lakers can’t be happy with what they saw from James in game four too. He could have made it a two-possession game with just under three minutes left but missed one of his free throws.
Yes, he is a poor free-throw shooter, shooting only 69.8% from the line this year. However, in those moments you need James to step up especially.
Then after that, Dennis Schroder missed a layup that would have made it a five-point game with a minute and a half remaining.
Rather than get back on defense and set the tone for the team, James looked down in disappointment and didn’t get back on defense.
This led to the Lakers being outnumbered on the other end and a Jae Crowder three that iced the game for the Suns.
What the Lakers need from James, is for him to set the tone. He needs to bring the intensity on defense and offense. He needs to stay aggressive and get to the rim and the free-throw line as much as possible.
Anthony Davis’ injury means they are going to need him to take a bigger role in terms of scoring than he has done so far. James is also not the elite defender he once was, but he can definitely do better.
He is going to need help, help from beyond the arc. If James is to stay aggressive he needs his shooters to knock down shots. Game four saw Ben McLemore get more minutes and knock down some shots.
James said: “It starts with my approach, it starts with my accountability, trickles down to everyone else.
“These shoulders was built for a reason. If it takes for me to put some more on top of it, then so be it.
Win, lose or draw I’m ready for the challenge.”
Reassuring words for Lakers fans. James will face one of his toughest challenges in the postseason if Davis’ injury causes him to miss game five.
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