The Los Angeles Lakers will have no sympathy from the Phoenix Suns or any of the remaining semifinal teams after they lost star forward Anthony Davis to a groin injury during their 100-92 loss in the Champions League. Sunday Afternoon at the Staples Center
However, the Suns played the first-round Western Conference playoff series with a limited version of Chris Paul (shoulder).
And of course, the Lakers still have LeBron James, the 36-year-old still returning to work from an ankle injury that cost him more than a third of LeBron James’ season version.
But still LeBron James, who never lost in the first round playoffs
“When I competed with the Miami Heat and one [Dwyane] Wade or [Chris] Bosh is away, that means more exposure for Bron,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, “and that wasn̵7;t always good for my Pacers team.”
However, the version of James is in his late 20s and he has not suffered a serious ankle injury. The mid-30s version of James has suppressed or resisted the effects of age to remain one of the most dominant players in the NBA.
But now, the Lakers’ title defense depends on whether this version of James can take them past the 2-2 series-tied Suns while returning to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday.
There will be talks from other people. That James’ supporting cast would have to step up too. Dennis Schroeder had to outperform the fool in Game 4 when he scored eight points on 3-v13 shootout Kyle Kuzma. That will have to return as a goalscorer after focusing on his all-around game throughout the season.
But that’s just everyone being polite.
“We’ll see,” said James, when initially asked how his role would change throughout the series. If Davis misses time with his latest injury, sources have told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Davis’ status is day-to-day.
However, a few minutes later James also accepted the clarity.
“These shoulders are made for a reason,” he says, “so if I need more than that, then go for it, win, lose or draw. I’m ready for the challenge.”
Anthony Davis fell awkwardly after missing the pitch. And playing a little slow in the first half
James led the Lakers with points (25), rebounds (12) and assists (six) on Sunday. This made him the oldest player in NBA season history to do so.
The Suns saw their own version of the film over the past week, starring their 36-year-old Paul. He has shelled himself since a shoulder injury in the first half of the May 23 series opener to the point where Phoenix coach Monty Williams wanted to seat him in Game 4.
During a 20-minute meeting with Williams and General Manager James Jones before the race on Sunday. Paul eventually persuaded the team to give him a chance to play.
“I have to believe in his intentions. his experience and what he did throughout his career He was trained in these moments,” Williams said. “My last thought was ‘I don’t want to be the one who takes him away.’ That’s a long thing I thought about, like, who am I to take away from him? He had been using his tail for years to live in this moment. And I don’t want to be a Dufus coach to take that out.”
Paul ended his deal with Williams by talking to his brother CJ. and teammates Devin Booker and Jae Crowder.
“I told them that ‘I don’t know how long it will take,’” Paul recalls. “‘If you feel like I’m leaving here like trash, just tell me and I’ll leave.’
“But at least I have to see what I can do.”
Paul was able to do more in game 4 – 18 points, 9 assists, 3 steals – than he could in the previous three games when Williams had to take him off in the second half.
Chris Paul confidently tapped a mid-level jumper over Andre Drummond and taunted him back as the Lakers demanded a timeout.
But perhaps most importantly, Paul had a zero in nearly 32 minutes on Sunday. Against the Lakers’ top-ranked defensive line, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, the game is the sixth career playoff game that Paul has assisted more than nine times, and there has been no rotation through Magic Johnson for the game. the most in NBA history.
That’s symbolic of the veteran Paul’s influence on the young Suns team, which soared to the second-best record in the league this season. And it’s important on Sunday. In a tough road game against the old champ. with the chance to face a 3-1 series deficit if the Suns lose.
The Suns stabilized on Sunday. And they compete hard. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Phoenix has competed in 58 of the Lakers’ 81 goal attempts (72%), which is higher than what the Suns competed on Thursday (57%). 3 losers
The Lakers, on the other hand, competed in just 40 of the Suns’ 85 goalscoring attempts (47%), the lowest scoring by any Los Angeles in a season since ESPN began tracking all postseason games in 2014.
This episode is the best of three series, with a pair of 36-year-old Hall of Famers, incidentally good friends. Fight for a chance to keep their season and championship hopes alive.
“The best teacher in life is experience,” James said. I’m looking forward to this challenge. No matter how the hand is handled I’m ready to play.”