LeBron James will have his work cut out for him in Game 5 after the Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns and saw Anthony Davis go down to yet another injury.
Davis suffered an apparent groin injury after a drive to the basket and was later ruled out the rest of the afternoon. He will undergo further evaluation to determine the severity of the injury, but reports indicate he is considered day-to-day and has a chance to play Game 5.
Tuesday is a quick turnaround though, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lakers be cautious with their star to prioritize his long-term health over one game, albeit an important one.
James is used to carrying teams in the postseason and he remained confident he could do it again if Davis does indeed have to sit out.
“For me, it’s putting our team in position to be successful. It starts with my approach,” James said. “It starts with my accountability and trickles down to everybody else. These shoulders were built for a reason and if it takes for me to put more on top of it then so be it. Win, lose or draw. I’m ready for the challenge.”
James added that he hasn’t spoken to Davis so is unsure about te severity of his injury but knows that when he had a groin injury himself during his first season wit the Lakers, it affected him for a long time.
“I don’t know the severity of his groin injury. I have no idea. I haven’t talked to him, so I’m not quite sure. I tore my groin on Christmas Day in Golden State and rehabbed, rehabbed and rehabbed until I was able to get back on the floor and still wasn’t where I was before I tore it my first year with the Lakers. I worked my tail off in the offseason just to get back to an unrestricted level. I can only speak from my experience and like I said, I don’t know the severity of his injury. Until we know, I’m not going to comment on it.”
Without Davis, James has no choice but to assume more of the heavy lifting for the Lakers as he is one of the few players on the roster who can create their own shot as well as create for others. However, the Suns will be prepared for this and will happily send extra defensive help toward James in Game 5 and continue to let other players on L.A. beat them from outside.
Game 5 is normally the swing point of a series and generally the team who takes it goes on to advance. So it will be interesting to see whether or not James and the rest of the Lakers are up to the task and if Davis is able to play or not.
James emphasizes next man up mentality
With all of the injuries the Lakers have been forced to deal with this season, the next man up mentality has become their mantra and that is again the case now after Davis went down.
“It’s next man up,” James said. “Obviously, if he’s not ready for Game 5, it’s a tough blow for our ball club. Next man up. We’ve been like that all year and we’re going to have a hostile environment in Game 5.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!