The Los Angeles Lakers were reminded once again that they aren’t contenders in the Western Conference. The team traveled to Phoenix to play the No. 1 seed Suns and got blown out by a score of 140 to 111. The loss certainly didn’t come as a surprise but it did serve as a harsh reminder of how far the Lakers have fallen in less than a year.
During last season’s playoffs, Los Angeles held a 2-1 lead in the opening round of the playoffs against the Suns. The team looked like they were taking control of the series until Anthony Davis hurt his groin. The Lakers proceeded to lose the next three games and get eliminated. Had Davis not gotten hurt, the team could’ve won another championship. The superstar big man is hurt once again but he had a chance to speak to the media ahead of the Suns matchup. He addressed last year’s playoff matchup and said that the Lakers would’ve won had he not gotten hurt.
“We know that, they know that,” Davis said of the playoff series, via ESPN. “They got away with one.”
Davis’ comments are something that most would agree on. The Lakers were taking control of the series and the Suns seemed outmatched. However, star guard Devin Booker wasn’t interested in hypotheticals and called Davis out for not taking the high road.
“If ‘if’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk,” Booker told reporters after Sunday’s win over the Lakers. “There’s a lot of ifs in this game. And you look at history along the lines, there’s something that comes up for every team during every season. So, instead of just taking the high route and going, you have to make a comment like that, it’s kind of funny.”
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Davis Hoping to Return From Injury Soon
The Lakers have lost seven of their last nine and it’s entirely possible that they won’t even have a chance to get in the playoffs via the play-in tournament. Nothing is going right for the team outside of LeBron James, who continues to play at an elite level. However, the Lakers do have a puncher’s chance if Davis gets healthy. The big man is working hard to return.
“I’m very optimistic about it,” Davis said. “I’m trying to get back on the court as soon as possible. As far as a number or something, I would love to say 100 but with only a certain amount of games yet, not 100 percent sure.”
A Davis return would certainly help the team’s chances to at least get into the playoffs. If the Lakers sneak into the eighth seed, then we’ll likely be getting a Suns rematch.
LeBron Not Convinced Davis Fixes All of Lakers’ Issues
While Davis’ return would only help the Lakers, it’s clear they have bigger issues. Russell Westbrook is a shell of himself and the roster as a whole just isn’t working. LeBron would love to have Davis back but he knows that won’t fix everything.
“It puts a band-aid on some things,” LeBron James said of Davis’ return following Sunday’s defeat. “But I mean, we just haven’t had enough chemistry, enough time with our group to be able to know exactly who we are and who we can become. [We haven’t] had enough minutes on the floor.
“We literally just played a team that has probably had the most consistent starting lineup over the last two or three years. And obviously [Chris Paul’s] been out, but they bring in Cameron Payne, and the thing keeps going. It’s going to be challenging for us. AD definitely helps, but it’s not the answer to all the questions.”
It would be unprecedented if the Lakers finally clicked at the end of the season and went on a run but never count LeBron out.