The Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 4 to the Phoenix Suns, but the big story from the game was Anthony Davis as he suffered a groin injury in the second quarter.
Davis was driving to the hoop and came down hard on the floor where he then immediately grabbed his left leg. The big man walked back into the locker room with a noticeable limp and was later ruled out for the second half with a left groin strain with Kyle Kuzma drawing the start in his place.
Without Davis on the floor, the Lakers were a shell of themselves in the third as they only scored 15 points and committed six turnovers, which blew the game open for Phoenix. However, L.A. rallied in the fourth quarter and got within striking distance before the Suns halted it with big shots of their own.
Even if Davis is forced to miss Game 5 and beyond, Marc Gasol said the team still has belief they can get the job done.
“There’s plenty of confidence that we have to win without AD, that’s not even a question for anybody in the locker room,” Gasol said after the Game 4 loss. “So obviously you lose him in the moment of a game, that can get your mind off track a little bit for some people. I hope it shouldn’t, though. I don’t know if that was the case to be honest, like I don’t know if that was with AD or without AD. But we just got to keep playing. It’s as simple as that.”
Gasol added that the team has to once again brace the “next man up” mentality that head coach Frank Vogel has preached about all season.
“Obviously you lose a guy like AD, you center a lot of the offense around him, but sorry like, to me that’s not enough. We have to have the next man up mentality like we always say. I know it sounds cliche but that’s the truth. We still got to execute whatever we’re doing on the floor, defensively, offensively. Take more control of the game, dominate physically, communicate, all the little things that go back possession by possession that you need to do in order to win playoff games.”
Injuries have unfortunately been the bane of L.A.’s existence the entire 2020-21 season and potentially losing Davis at this time of the year would be a cruel way to end the team’s title defense. However, Gasol is right in that the Lakers have enough talent left on the roster to pull out a win but they will need to play near-perfect basketball if they hope to overcome what has been an excellent Suns squad.
The center himself was a large reason why the Lakers were able to make it a game late as his defense and outside shooting was a major boost. Gasol has looked more like himself the past couple of months when given minutes and it is likely that Vogel will need to turn to him more if they hope to win what will be an intense Game 5.
Davis considered day-to-day
The good news for the Lakers is that it was reported after the game that Davis is day-to-day and has a chance to play in Game 5. The Lakers will likely be cautious with their superstar though, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sit out at least one game with the bigger picture in mind.
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