The Los Angeles Lakers will soon have Anthony Davis and LeBron James back on the floor after the two All-Stars’ lengthy spell on the sidelines.
L.A. has lost eight out of the 15 games after the four-time NBA champion suffered his ankle injury on March 20. At that point, Davis had already missed a month due to a calf strain. In the aftermath of the injury crisis, the Lakers slipped down the Western Conference standings, falling into fifth as role players kept leaving everything on the floor every night to stop the bleeding.
But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope thinks there could be an upside to James and Davis’ weeks-long absence. “It just builds everybody’s confidence on the team knowing that playing without them guys, leaders on the court and off the court, it just helps us figure out who we are without our superstars,” he said.
“Team-first basketball and just playing for each other. I feel like that’s helping us build that chemistry without our two superstars and then when they come back it should be the same as far as how we’re playing and just our role.”
Caldwell-Pope has gone hot offensively after taking on an increased role in the aftermath of James’ injury. The guard has been shooting 41.6% from deep, scoring 11.1 points per game, seemingly leaving the mid-season crisis he struggled with at the time behind.
He finished the 127-115 win over the Utah Jazz 5-for-12 from behind the 3-point line, chipping in 25 points, the same input as Dennis Schroder’s and two short of Andre Drummond’s team-high.
Caldwell-Pope’s calf ‘fine’ despite injury scare in win over Jazz
The Lakers seemed to have suffered another setback in the victory over the Jazz when Caldwell-Pope, laying on the floor, grabbed his calf after throwing down a late fourth-quarter dunk. But the guard said he only suffered a cramp in the muscle and added he should be fit to face Utah again on Monday. “Just a little cramp so calf is good,” he said.
“Just a little treatment, hydrate for the rest of the night and I should be good and fine and ready to go. But it was all due to previously I got kneed in my quad so that kind of knotted it up a little bit and it just trickled down to the calf. Other than that, I’m fine. Just a little calf soreness from the cramp.”
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