NBA

Lakers miss playoffs but Davis claims: 'We had the pieces to win a championship'

By Sports Desk April 06, 2022

Anthony Davis still believes the Los Angeles Lakers could have won the NBA title this season if not for injury.

Defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday combined with a win elsewhere for the San Antonio Spurs meant the Lakers can no longer reach even the play-in tournament.

It is a remarkable fall from grace for a team who were champions less than two years ago, although both Davis and LeBron James have struggled with injuries.

Davis has played only 40 games following knee and foot injuries, while James has been limited to 56 as he has attempted to overcome an ankle sprain.

James was absent as the Lakers' playoff hopes were ended against the Suns, with Davis on the floor but acknowledging his foot was "a little more sore than normal" and had "swollen up a bit".

"We haven't had the chance to have our full team, with myself out, LB out, other guys," Davis said. "It's the most disappointing thing. I'm not sure how good we could have been.

"For myself personally, it's two unfortunate injuries that kept me out for a while, a significant part of the season.

"I was one of the leaders on the team, especially on the defensive end of the floor. When guys needed me most, I wasn't able to be out there.

"For me, for our team, for our organisation, we've got to recap now and see what's next."

Considering what that might mean for next season, Davis said: "Who knows?"

He added: "We've got to recap the season, what worked, what didn't work and go from there. I truly think we could have done something special if Bron and myself, mainly me, were healthy for the entire season.

"I think you would love to see, the world would love to see, we would love to see what this team could be if we were healthy for the full 82."

The Lakers' trade for Russell Westbrook has been widely criticised, with the point guard's return of 18.5 points per game his lowest since 2009-10.

Even when the Lakers had Davis, James and Westbrook all in the lineup, their record was a relatively mediocre 11-10.

However, Davis believes they would have improved with time, explaining: "Our goal was to win a championship. We had the pieces, but injuries got in the way of that. That was the difference in our season.

"Even though we lost games where all of us were on the floor – me, Bron, Russ – I think we're three great players and we would have figured it out if we logged more minutes together.

"We weren't able to do that, which makes it tough to be able to compete for a championship."

However, team-mate Carmelo Anthony, while agreeing with Davis' assessment of the team's potential, refused to point to injuries as an excuse.

"We just didn't get it done," he said. "We had the tools. Some things were out of our control – some things we could control, some things we couldn't.

"It's nothing else more than we didn't get it done. You can't make excuses about it. We just didn't get it done."

Related items

  • 'Experience is the best teacher', says Brown as Celtics close on NBA championship 'Experience is the best teacher', says Brown as Celtics close on NBA championship

    Jaylen Brown said the Boston Celtics had learned from past mistakes after they took another step towards clinching the NBA championship with Wednesday's Game 3 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

    Brown had 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Celtics took a 3-0 lead in the series, holding off a late Dallas push to claim a 106-99 win.

    They could now capture a record-breaking 18th NBA crown on Friday, when they are again on the road for Game 4 at American Airlines Center.

    The Celtics were beaten NBA finalists against the Golden State Warriors two years ago and have also lost two Eastern Conference finals series in the last five seasons.

    Brown thinks experiencing those near misses has made them stronger, saying: "Experience is the best teacher. 

    "All year long we've been hearing about the Celtics in the past, for the last six to eight months, all we've been hearing is all the different shortcomings we've had in the past.

    "This is a new team, you know what I mean? We've learned from those experiences. In these moments, you can see that we learned from it. We stepped up to the plate, and we found a way to win."

    None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit have rallied to win an NBA playoff series, in any round.

    Dallas gave themselves a chance of making a series of it when a 22-2 spurt pulled them within one point with three minutes and 37 seconds left.

    However, a Brown putback was followed by a Derrick White 3-pointer and a Tatum dunk as the Celtics rediscovered their composure to pull clear once more.

    Tatum is refusing to take his eye off the ball despite Boston now having four chances to clinch the title, saying: "Last year, when we were down 0-3 in the conference finals, we really felt like we were going to come back.

    "We almost did. You know, we were my sprained ankle away from having a real shot, so we are not relaxing or anything like that. 

    "You know, we're not even focusing on winning or Friday or whatever. However long it takes, that's our motto. That's what it's going to take, and nobody is trying to relax at all."

  • NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals NBA: Celtics hold off Mavericks for 3-0 lead in NBA Finals

    Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and Jaylen Brown added 30 as the Boston Celtics fended off the Dallas Mavericks’ furious rally for a 106-99 victory for a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

    Brown finished with eight rebounds and eight assists and Derrick White had 16 points as Boston extended its franchise record with a 10th consecutive playoff win and moved to 7-0 on the road this postseason.

    The Celtics can wrap up the series and win their 18th title to break a tie with the Lakers for most NBA championships with a victory Friday night in Dallas.

    None of the previous 156 teams to face a 3-0 deficit has rallied to win an NBA playoff series.

    Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out about two hours before the game because of a rare tendon injury in his lower left leg sustained in Game 2. But the Celtics improved to 10-1 in these playoffs without the 7-foot-2 Latvian.

    Kyrie Irving scored 35 points for Dallas and Luka Dončić added 27 before he fouled out with 4:12 remaining.

    The Celtics opened a 91-70 lead at the end of a 20-5 run early in the fourth quarter, but the Mavs answered with a 22-2 spurt to pull within 93-92 on Irving’s jumper with 3:37 left.

    Brown made a layup and White hit a 3-pointer before Irving sank a pair of free throws. Tatum dunked and Brown drilled a long jumper sandwiched around Dereck Lively II’s dunk to put Boston up 102-98.

    PJ Washington and Irving both missed 3s and Tatum’s two free throws with 15 seconds left sealed the win.

    Irving’s personal losing streak against the Celtics – his former team – reached 13 games.

  • Celtics' Porzingis ruled out for Game 3 vs. Mavericks Celtics' Porzingis ruled out for Game 3 vs. Mavericks

    The Boston Celtics won't have Kristaps Porzingis for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday because of a rare injury to his left leg.

    The Celtics announced Tuesday that Porzingis suffered a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon.

    The team described the injury as being rare, and said it is unrelated to a right calf strain that side-lined Porzingis for 10 games earlier in the play-offs.

    The injury occurred with 3:27 to play in the third quarter of Sunday's 105-98 win over the Mavericks, which gave Boston a 2-0 lead.

    Porzingis helped spark the Celtics in Thursday's 107-89 win in Game 1, tallying 11 points and two blocks in the first quarter in his first game since April 29.

    He finished with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and six rebounds before recording 12 points and four boards in Game 2.

    Porzingis spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Mavericks from 2019-22, and with this latest injury, still hasn't played a game in Dallas since being traded to the Washington Wizards in February 2022.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.