Now tied 2-2 with Phoenix, Los Angeles will probably have to try to win Game 5 without Davis at all.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Lakers star Anthony Davis is unlikely to play in Game 5 vs. Suns on Tuesday due to strained groin, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. There’s optimism about Davis‘ status as series continues and as he is evaluated day-to-day.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 31, 2021
Davis was described as day-to-day, so maybe he’ll play in Game 6 Thursday. But it doesn’t bode well that he was nearly ruled out a full day before Game 5.
The Lakers have generally played well with LeBron James on the court, with or without Davis. But Los Angeles hasn’t quite played well enough with LeBron (who’s battling ankle issues) or had him out there enough (37.8 minutes per game) to seize control of this series.
Sans Davis, the Lakers could slide LeBron to power forward. But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed Game 4, so Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily have its usual wing depth. Markieff Morris could also start at power forward if the Lakers want to stay big.
With even less margin for error, Los Angeles must optimize its center minutes. Last game, that meant more backup Marc Gasol than starter Andre Drummond. But the Suns have exploited Gasol’s slowness at times, and managing Drummond’s ego could be necessary to getting the best from him.