Anthony Davis is the biggest reason the Los Angeles Lakers aren't on the ropes right now in the opening round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. After scoring all of 13 points in Game 1, Davis woke up and realized this team goes as he does. In response, he scored 34 points in both Game 2 and Game 3 to lead his team to a pair of victories and a 2-1 series advantage over the Phoenix Suns.
There was a moment in Game 3 when every Lakers fans' breath caught in their throats. Davis went up for a chase-down block on Devin Booker with just over two and a half minutes to go in the first half and came down on his knee awkwardly.
Davis was clearly in pain but battled through. It ultimately didn't affect him all that much; he had 22 points and six rebounds in the second half after he got hurt. Following the game, Davis said he was fine and there wasn't a chance he was coming out during a playoff game.
That was two days ago. Today, Saturday, the Lakers held press conferences ahead of Game 4, scheduled to take place tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. ET. Frank Vogel informed the crowd that Davis was on the injury report, listed as questionable with a sprained left knee.
Well, that's a bit worse than Davis was letting on, isn't it? And it is extraordinarily concerning that his status is questionable. It's hard to imagine Davis not playing, and I'm not going to sound the alarms about the Lakers playing entirely without Davis until there is legitimate reason to do so.
But the fact that Davis is questionable means he's not at 100 percent, and that is very bad for this Lakers team. LeBron James is not LeBron James right now. Maybe nearly two decades in the NBA is finally catching up to him or maybe we should have believed him when he said he didn't think he'd ever be 100 percent recovered from his sprained ankle this season. But LeBron hasn't been able to dominate an entire game in the playoffs thus far, even if you include the play-in game against the Warriors. He's still good, obviously, but not the overwhelming force that drove many teams deep into the postseason.
That's been fine in the first round of this year's playoffs because he has Davis to pick up the slack. In the two LA wins against Phoenix, Davis had two double-doubles. He was an absolute beast on the boards at both ends and was a chaotic force of defensive nature on every possession. The Lakers go as far as Davis goes right now. And if he's hurt? If he can't patrol the back end on defense and punish the Suns on the block on offense? The Lakers are in serious trouble. For real this time.