If Tuesday’s humiliating loss to the Dallas Mavericks taught us anything, it’s that the Los Angeles Lakers need LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the floor. Fortunately for Los Angeles, both returns may be forthcoming.
James missed Tuesday’s loss after rolling his ankle in their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that James “is expected to sit out Thursday in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz,” but added nothing further. If that’s the only additional game LeBron misses, he’ll be back for Friday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
And he may not be the only one.
Haynes also reported that Davis — who’s missed the last 17 games — is hoping to return by Friday or Sunday, as well.
“If Anthony Davis continues to progress in his rehab from a MCL sprain/foot sprain, he’s targeting a return on either Friday at home against New Orleans or Sunday when Denver visits, sources said,” Haynes reported.
James is having one of the better statistical seasons of his career. He’s averaging 30.1 points per game which not only leads the league, but would be a career-high.
Davis isn’t quite at that level. He’s shooting 53.7% from the field, which would be a career-high. But the rest of his numbers are down from his prime years. That’s the bad news. The good news is that in 37 games, he’s averaged 23.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.3 blocks per contest. If he’s able to play at that level, he’ll be a big jolt to the team.
And his team needs it.
Davis last played on Feb. 16, when the Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 106-101. That win moved Los Angeles to 27-31 on the season. While that’s not a great record, it’s far better than the 4-13 mark that the Lakers have posted in the 17 games since.
That slide has dropped the Lakers to 31-44 overall. That has them tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the final play-in game spot in the Western Conference with only seven games remaining. Worse for Los Angeles is that the Spurs have the tiebreaker.
The Lakers will likely need James and Davis to even make a play-in game. And if Los Angeles is going to make any noise in the postseason, James and Davis will need to be on the floor and in top form.