For a moment, all of Laker-dom held its breath when, with just under seven minutes to play in Thursday’s Game 4 of the NBA’s Western Conference finals, big man Anthony Davis hit the hardwood and lay on his back appearing to wail in pain as he clutched his left ankle, which he had just rolled after taking a midrange jumper.
And there was nothing but relief when he eventually popped back up and was able to walk off the injury, even finishing out the game, which the Lakers won.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said on Friday that Davis is battling “some soreness” but should be ready for Game 5.
“Great toughness,” Vogel said Thursday. “You could see he was in some pain after that happened. The way he started the game was off the charts. His shot-making was ridiculous and his energy all over the floor.”
Davis said it was likely the ankle would not be 100% going forward, but that he would likely be on the floor for Game 5 on Saturday.
“Ankle feels fine,” Davis said. “Got tonight, tomorrow, before the game to get it back to–you know, I won’t say back to where it was but good enough to play. I rolled it pretty bad but not too bad. But I’ll be fine.”
Anthony Davis says he rolled his ankle “pretty bad” but also “not too bad” and “I’ll be fine.” pic.twitter.com/XnuetBus6s
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) September 25, 2020
Anthony Davis Efficient as a Scorer, Invisible as a Rebounder
Davis had an odd Game 4 performance. He finished with 34 points on 10-for-15 shooting, exemplary efficiency from a high-volume shooter like Davis. He was 13-for-14 from the free-throw line.
But Davis finished with only five rebounds, and did not have any rebounds until there was 5:12 to play in the third quarter. Davis was aggressive in going to the rim, though, and attributed the lack of rebounds to the board-chewing performance of center Dwight Howard, who had 11 rebounds on the night as he got his first starting assignment of the playoffs.
“Just go out there and play,” Davis said. “I feel like I was aggressive tonight, especially at the start. I think I still have to do a better job rebounding but, when you’ve got two bigs in there and you’re the 4 and Dwight is so accustomed to going to the boards, he kind of takes a lot of them. But we’ve done a good job of putting me in situations to be successful and be aggressive. They wanted to try to take me out of it in the second half and I was trying to make the right plays finding guys.”
Lakers, Nuggets Familiar with 3-1 Series
The Lakers will enter Saturday’s game against Denver with a chance to close out the Nuggets, a team that has already survived six elimination games in the first two rounds of the playoffs as they twice came back from 3-1 series deficits, first against Utah then against the Clippers.
But, as Davis pointed out, the Lakers have twice been in the situation of having a 3-1 lead in their postseason series and were able to close out in Game 5 in both cases.
“You can never be comfortable around this team,” Davis said. “They’ve been around this situation twice, we’ve been in this situation twice. Both teams are familiar with this situation. But this team is not going to go away. Like I said last game, we gotta put them away. They’re going to continue to fight, no matter what the score is, no matter what the situation is.”