There were a lot of positives for the Los Angeles Lakers in their Game 3 victory over the Phoenix Suns, but one major concern was the number of players who wound up limping at some point during the game. Both Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder had some minor issues that they played through, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wasn’t so lucky.
Caldwell-Pope left the game in the third quarter with what the team called a left quad contusion. He was questionable to return but ultimately did not come back on the court. The Lakers had things in hand and won going away by 16 points, but moving forward the health of Caldwell-Pope will be a major question.
Following the game, Caldwell-Pope explained exactly what happened on the play itself and it turns out he hyperextended his knee.
“It was me coming off the pick-and-roll with him [Booker], the kind of hostage situation, he tried to hostage me. He kind of like backed into my leg and it hyperextended a little bit,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Other than that, that was all that happened. I felt immediately pain when it did, when he bumped me and it hyperextended. It was painful enough where I couldn’t finish the game.”
The good news for the Lakers is that they will have two days off before that crucial Game 4 and Caldwell-Pope hopes to be on the floor for it.
“I’m doing well. A little sore but I’m doing well. Got two days to rest, recovery, and I hope I’m ready to go Sunday.”
The most important part of that is whether or not Caldwell-Pope will need an MRI. The Lakers tend to be cautious on injury issues so ensuring that their starting guard doesn’t have any serious damage would seem to be the likely move. But Caldwell-Pope seems to be hoping to avoid that step although he is currently unsure.
“Don’t know. We’re gonna see tomorrow when I wake up how I’m feeling and then go from there. But yeah, it was the knee once he backed into me it hyperextended the knee a little bit.”
While Caldwell-Pope has struggled on the offensive side of the ball, he has been absolutely crucial defensively in helping to contain Suns guard Devin Booker. The Suns All-Star is averaging 28 points per game but is shooting just 40.9% from the field and 22.6% from 3-point range.
Should Caldwell-Pope be unavailable for any period of time then Wesley Matthews, Talen Horton-Tucker and Ben McLemore could all see increased roles in addition to the likes of Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma. But Frank Vogel and the Lakers coaching staff, and Caldwell-Pope himself, are undoubtedly hoping it doesn’t come to that.
Caldwell-Pope happy with the Staples Center crowd
For the first time since 2013, the Lakers had a playoff game in front of fans at Staples Center and they didn’t go home disappointed. In such an important game, the Lakers’ crowd was locked in throughout and Caldwell-Pope discussed how great the fans were on this night.
“It felt good. The first two games in Phoenix it was loud and you could just feel like the crowd was on top of you. Just being back home where the fans are showing you love and the energy is through the roof, we felt that tonight and it just felt good just to be around the fans.”
Though it still isn’t a full crowd just yet, the fans were felt and heard and the Lakers hope that is a trend that continues throughout these playoffs.
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