Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis dispelled any doubt that he would be sidelined for Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns, expressing the importance of the matchup.
Davis injured his knee during the first half of Game 3, coming down awkward after blocking a layup attempt from Devin Booker. While Davis’ status is officially questionable, he appears to be anything but that.
“There’s no chance that I don’t play tomorrow,” Davis told reporters after practice Saturday. “As a player, I’ve wanted to be in this moment. You want to be in the playoffs and help contribute to my team’s success. I want to be out there. So in my eyes, for me as a competitor, I think I’ll be out there [Sunday].”
Davis has stepped up during the last two games, notching a pair of 34-point double-doubles. He’s also led the charge with his aggression, going to the line 37 times in the two games. Davis has experienced some swelling and is wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg to deal with the injury, per ESPN.
“It’s going to be probably the biggest game of the series, I think, besides if Game 7 happens,” Davis said. “We’re going in, want to protect home court … We know they’re going to come out and play desperate, in a sense.”
Lakers Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Also Questionable
While Davis seems like a certainty to play, there are more questions surrounding the status of guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is dealing with a quad injury he suffered in Game 3.
Caldwell-Pope had an MRI on his quad but it came back negative, meaning there was no tear. However, he’s still in some pretty bad pain, which he expressed on Thursday.
“I immediately felt pain when he bumped me, and it hyperextended,” Caldwell-Pope told reporters. “And it was painful enough where I couldn’t finish the game.”
Caldwell-Pope has had a tough series, averaging just 4.0 points on a measly 22.2% shooting, adding 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in the series. He is shooting just 8% from beyond the arc.
Lakers Have Faith in Wes Matthews
If Caldwell-Pope is unable to go, Wes Matthews would take on a larger role, something the 34-year-old veteran is ready for.
“I have no idea. I have no idea what it is for me,” Matthews said, per the Los Angeles Times. “My job is to stay ready for whatever the task at hand is called for. And so, focus on what it is I need to do, get my body right, my mind right, shots up, treatment, lift, all that stuff.
“Everybody is doing the same thing. That’s kind of what this season is almost kind of oddly prepared us for is the unknown. And so, hopefully KCP is back and hopefully he’s at 100%, because obviously we’re a stronger team when we got everybody healthy. But as far as whatever it means for me, I’ll be ready for whatever.”
Matthews scored eight points in Game 3 and played some tough defense on Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker down the stretch. He showed enough for his head coach Frank Vogel to feel confident going forward, even if Caldwell-Pope in unavailable.
“Hopefully KCP is a go and we keep guys in their normal roles, but Wes has played really well. Really provides that toughness, edginess and chippiness on the defensive end,” Vogel said. “You need that when you have elite playmakers like we’re going against in Chris Paul and (Devin) Booker, even the way Cam Payne is playing, you definitely need that.
“He’s just another weapon for us to throw out there and help solidify us on the defensive end, and as you saw the other night, offensively, knocking down a couple threes always helps. Wes is a great two-way player, and whether KCP is in or not, we expect him to contribute in this series.”
The Lakers are 7-point favorites for Game 4 at Staples Center on Sunday, per Odds Shark. The total for the matchup is set at 210 points.