Lakers star Anthony Davis is reportedly considered unlikely to play in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday due to a strained groin. But even if they’re missing their second-leading scorer and frontcourt anchor, the Lakers remain confident in their ability to hang with the No. 2 Suns, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.
“There is plenty of confidence that we have now without AD. That’s not even a question for anybody in the locker room,” center Marc Gasol said on Sunday.
“It’s just gonna be more opportunity for (LeBron James) and obviously we need more guys to step up,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “Not one other guy, but everybody. It’s gotta be a group effort. We need contributions from everyone, and we did have a stretch like this where we played without AD that we’ll draw on to take us into Game 5 if AD’s not available.”
As Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes, the Lakers had a winning record (19-17) without Davis this season, including an 11-7 mark in games that James played and Davis didn’t. The club may have also discovered an effective Davis-less lineup in Game 4, as LeBron, Gasol, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso, and Dennis Schröder were a plus-six in seven minutes. All five of those players can make outside shots and are solid defenders, Buha observes.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- James is prepared to shoulder a heavier workload and more responsibilities if the team is missing Davis for the next game or two, as Mark Medina of USA Today relays. “These shoulders were built for a reason,” LeBron said on Sunday. “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.”
- Rival executives expect the Lakers to shake up their roster a little if they don’t make it past the first round of the playoffs, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Dennis Schröder will be perhaps the most important free agent worth monitoring — L.A. probably can’t afford to lose him for nothing, so re-signing him or working out a sign-and-trade will be a priority.
- Within the same Bleacher Report story, Fischer cites sources who say that the Lakers discussed potential Kyle Kuzma trades with teams at the deadline in March. Prior to Spencer Dinwiddie‘s ACL injury, Los Angeles inquired about a swap involving the Nets guard and Kuzma, according to Fischer.
- There’s a sense among Lakers officials that Alex Caruso has enjoyed playing alongside LeBron and will be interested in re-signing with the team in free agency this summer, reports Fischer.