Darvin Ham insisted Russell Westbrook is one of the best players the NBA has ever seen upon his announcement as Los Angeles Lakers head coach on Monday.

The nine-time All-Star and former MVP had a patchy first season in the purple and gold despite averages of 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists.

The 33-year-old was widely regarded as the cause behind the Lakers finishing with a 33-49 record which saw them finish 11th in the Western Conference, even missing the Play-In Tournament.

Asked about fitting Westbrook with LeBron James and Anthony Davis during his introduction as the Lakers coach, Ham took the opportunity to defend the embattled point guard.

"Don't get it messed up," he said. "Russ is one of the best players our league has ever seen, and there's still a ton left in that tank. I don't know why people tend to try to write him off.

"I'm going to approach him like I do every player I've ever encountered. We're going to talk about our running habits, with the ball, without the ball. And again, the team, the rhythm of the team and trying to establish a rhythm with LeBron, Russ, AD.

"And again, share the load defensively and offensively. Defensively is where you're going to see us make our biggest leaps and bounds. We have to commit to the defensive side of the ball or we don't have a chance to do anything. Our offence won't even matter if we don't get stops."

After an eight-year playing career in the NBA, Ham got his first coaching job in the league working as an assistant at the Lakers, as a part of Mike Brown's staff in 2012-13.

After that season, the 48-year-old spent the following years on Mike Budenholzer's staff with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, winning the NBA title in 2021.

"The fact that I got my start as a coach here, this place will always be special for me," Ham said. "It's like a homecoming for me, in all seriousness."

"As sad as it is for me to be leaving coach Bud, sometimes you got to walk that walk on your own. We went from colleagues, to friends, to brothers while all the while making history."

It was perhaps not the most surprising news when it emerged on Monday that coach Frank Vogel had been dismissed by the Los Angeles Lakers.   One of the most star-studded teams of all time inexplicably failed to even make the NBA Play-In tournament, finishing the season with a record of 33-49 and in 11th place in the western conference.   However, it would have been astonishing to imagine this scenario in September, when Vogel was handed a one-year extension to his deal, and especially a year prior to that when he was lifting an NBA championship in his first year with the Lakers.   How did we get here, though?

Vogel enjoyed a good start to his career in coaching, making it to the play-offs with the Indiana Pacers in each of his first four years, reaching the conference finals in 2013 and 2014.

After six years in Indiana, he moved to the Orlando Magic, but was unable to repeat the trick there with a young team, with an overall regular season record in his two years in Florida of 54-110, failing to reach the post-season in either campaign before being fired in 2018.

A year later, he was appointed by the Lakers, making a great start as he boasted a regular season record of 52-19, before going on to win their first championship in 10 years.

Vogel's second season was not as smooth, with a 42-30 regular season record. A dramatic Play-In victory against the Golden State Warriors brewed excitement that another dramatic championship run could be on the cards, but a 4-2 defeat to the Phoenix Suns in the first playoff round ended those hopes.

Despite that setback, his post-season win percentage of 66.7 is the third-best in Lakers history, behind only Pat Riley (68.5) and Paul Westhead (68.4).

However, even after having faith shown in him with a one-year contract extension in August 2021, Vogel was unable to add to those figures with a spectacular failure to reach the post-season this year.

The regression in 2020-21 had largely been put down to injury issues suffered by two of his stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and with those two back fit and after trading to bring Russell Westbrook in from the Washington Wizards, the Lakers went into the 2021-22 season as one of the favourites to go all the way.

 

While Davis and James have suffered further injury setbacks, the latter has still had one of his most productive seasons of an illustrious career, and a failure to get anything like the best out of Westbrook has also been a factor.

James averaged over 30 points per game (30.3) for the first time since 2007-08, with only Joel Embiid averaging more across the league (30.6), though it was the first season since 2009-10 in which Westbrook averaged fewer than 20 points per game (18.5).

The 33-year-old did not hold back when asked about Vogel on Monday, saying at his exit interview: "I think it's unfortunate, to be honest, because I've never had an issue with any of my coaches before.

"I'm not sure what [Vogel's] issue was with me, or I'm not sure why, but I can't really give you an answer to why we really never connected."

The writing was on the wall towards the end of the season, with the Lakers losing eight straight games to miss out on the Play-In tournament, only slightly improving their record with two final wins before the end of the regular season, and ultimately, the end of Vogel's time in LA.

Russell Westbrook hopes he will get the chance to play an 82-game season alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis next year, but he added: "Nothing is promised."

Westbrook signed for the Los Angeles Lakers at the start of this season in a trade with the Washington Wizards that has since been widely criticised.

The Lakers traded away three key players in exchange for Westbrook and his huge contract, which contains a staggering $47.1million player option for 2022-23.

Having also given up their draft picks for the coming seasons in acquiring Davis, the Lakers may have little option but to run it back with the core of a team who have missed out on the postseason this year.

For all the Lakers' problems – their elimination confirmed by Tuesday's defeat to the Phoenix Suns – Westbrook hopes that will be the case.

He has played only 21 games alongside both James and Davis this season, with each suffering from injury troubles.

"That's the plan, but nothing is promised," Westbrook said. "You've got to take one thing at a time each day and play the cards you're dealt.

"Yes, we want to be able to see what that looks like, what that entails over the course of an 82-game season.

"But we're not sure if that's guaranteed, either. I just hope that we have a chance to be able to do something in the future."

Westbrook described the season as "obviously disappointing on many levels" and said "so many different things" had gone wrong.

However, he added: "It's a situation that I was just blessed to be able to be in.

"I learned a lot about a lot of different things within myself. I was able to just stay real faithful and true to what I believe in, regardless of what was ever thrown our way, my way. We continued to fight through it regardless of results.

"I'm covered. What I mean by that is I am super blessed and grateful. Regardless of whatever is thrown my way, I'm covered by the protection of faith. Whatever is thrown my way, I can always prevail and get through it."

Head coach Frank Vogel added: "I'm extremely disappointed, disappointed for our fan base, disappointed for the Buss family, who gave us all this opportunity.

"We want to play our part in bringing success to Laker basketball, and we fell short.

"We were eliminated tonight, but I can say it's not been due to a lack of effort. We have all put in the work, our guys stayed fighting right until the end, we brought integrity to the process; we just fell short through a disjointed season."

Vogel also pointed to the Lakers' injuries, suggesting they were the main difference between this season and the team's title-winning campaign of 2019-20.

"It's just a different team," he said. "Without getting into a lot of the details why, that was a very different team than we have this year.

"I would say if LeBron and AD played 15 games together that year, we would have had a similar year to what we're having right now."

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will be missing from the NBA playoffs.

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 less than two years since the Lakers won the title in the 'bubble', but that championship was followed by one mishap after another, leading to this painful season.

Stats Perform seeks to break down where it all went wrong.

Ageing LeBron limited

This could and perhaps should have been remembered as a great year for James, who has scored 30.3 points per game. At 37, he is on course to become the oldest player ever to win the scoring title – a mantle he will take from the great Michael Jordan.

However, for a second straight year, injuries have limited James' involvement.

Already with more than 63,000 minutes in his legs across the regular season and playoffs, James has continued to push himself to try to save the Lakers' season. He has played 37.2 minutes per game – his most in five years, the most of any Laker and the third-most in the entire league. Again, he is 37. Ultimately, unsurprisingly, this has meant more wear and tear, with James playing in just 56 games.

Although James has scored more than 35 points in each of his past five games – a streak bettered only by DeMar DeRozan (eight) this season – he has also missed five games in that span. The Lakers have lost all five.

AD also absent again

Given James' age, it was to be expected his body might start to let him down. That he needed to play so many minutes when he was available, though, was due to injury issues for Anthony Davis – eight years his junior.

Davis was outstanding in helping James to win a title in their first season together in 2019-20 but has played only 76 games since across two regular seasons. After an Achilles strain hampered his 2020-21 campaign, Davis has missed time this year with knee and foot injuries. He played on Tuesday but revealed his foot was "a little more sore than normal" and had "swollen up a bit".

Whether Davis can ever get back to playing a full 82-game season remains to be seen, for he has appeared more cumbersome than in years past even when he has been available, having bulked up coming into this year. That is evident in the numbers, too, with Davis shooting a career-high 73.5 per cent at the rim but just 18.6 per cent from three-point range.

Derailed by Russ trade

Of course, even with James and Davis kept on the sideline for periods of the 2020-21 season, the Lakers still made the play-in tournament and then the playoffs. However, the Lakers then allowed almost their entire supporting cast to leave.

Their four most-used players in terms of minutes in 2020-21 departed, including three of them in an ill-fated trade for Russell Westbrook. On his fourth team in four years, there was hope Westbrook could form a 'big three' with James and Davis – "our goal was to win a championship," Davis said on Tuesday – yet the trio have played just 21 games together.

And Westbrook has been far less effective than the men he replaced in carrying the team in the absence of the Lakers' superstar duo. LA are 6-17 when Westbrook plays but James does not.

Having averaged a triple-double in four of his prior five seasons, Westbrook is down to 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. One of 10 triples this year came in perhaps the worst individual performance of the campaign, in which Westbrook also had a league-high 10 turnovers and was ejected against former team the Oklahoma City Thunder.

What next?

"Who knows?" That was Davis' response after the Suns loss. The Lakers have very little room to manoeuvre in this coming offseason, even if James, Davis and Westbrook can each rediscover form and fitness – highly unlikely in itself.

As part of the deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis, the Lakers traded away an unprotected first-round pick in 2022, a potential first-round pick swap in 2023 and either their 2024 or 2025 first-round pick. The 2022 pick is sure to be a big loss following this season, while the Lakers would have to turn their fortunes around dramatically for the subsequent picks not to also represent significant assets.

And yet the Lakers' cap situation is arguably even worse, headlined by Westbrook's player option for a staggering $47.1million in 2022-23. Only a league-low seven players are signed for next year, yet the team are already above the luxury tax threshold.

It is no secret James and Davis were hugely influential in constructing this roster, but whether the extortionate cost was worth it for a single title is up for debate. Another championship surely will not follow for some time.

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."

Anthony Davis pondered "what could have been" this season after Sunday's 129-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets, and admitted he feels like "the whole world wants to see" the Los Angeles Lakers lose.

The Lakers' loss means they are now two games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the last Western Conference Play-In Tournament spot, with just four games to play.

Favourite to win his second consecutive MVP award, Nikola Jokic starred once again for the Nuggets, scoring 38 points on 15-of-22 shooting, with 18 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.

Davis also played well, with 28 points (11-of-25 shooting), nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals and three blocks, but when speaking to post-game media he wondered what his team could have accomplished if healthier.

"We never [got a chance to get continuity] all year," he said.

"I think us three – being me, LeBron [James] and Russ [Westbrook] – have played… 21 games together?

"We didn't expect to only have 21 games together, but it's just kind of been that year. Either I'm in, or [James is] in, and the times we do play together we look really good – and then somebody's out of the line-up.

"It's been tough not being able to fully reach our potential, as far as us three being on the floor and seeing what we really could be.

"But that being said, we also have enough to win basketball games, either when [James] doesn't play or when I don't play. 

"You saw tonight, we fought extremely hard, and we were there, there were just some costly plays in the last four or five minutes that cost us the game."

That thought about what the Lakers could have been was not a passing one for Davis, who admitted it weighs on his mind.

 "I think the biggest thing that I think about is 'what could have been'," he said.

"If we stayed healthy all year, what could we have been? 

"Of course you have to figure out the kinks early on, but after that 10, 15, 20 games to figure it out, and you get close to All-Star [Weekend], or after All-Star, and you're rolling, you feel like 'what could we have been' if I was healthy all year, or LeBron was healthy all year, if [Kendrick] Nunn was healthy.

"You think about those things. When we put this team together, it really looked good on paper, but we haven't had a chance to reach our potential."

While there is plenty of reflection happening, Davis insisted his side is not going to roll over in the last few games of the season, but admitted he feels like people enjoy watching the Lakers struggling.

"We know with the situation we're in, especially with losing today, it's another must-win – a must-must-win – in Phoenix [against the Suns on Tuesday]," he said.

"[Phoenix] is playing well, but also can be beat. But [our] spirits are high, we're not a team that's going to fold until it's all the way over.

"We've got four games left, and it's our job to try and compete and go out and win every one of those.

"There's no moral victories in this league. Especially with us – the whole world wants to see us lose, to be honest."

Anthony Davis is not giving up hope of the Los Angeles Lakers making the playoffs despite a damaging defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

Former Pelican Davis returned from injury, alongside LeBron James, but his 23 points and 12 rebounds could not rescue the Lakers from a 114-111 loss.

It leaves the Lakers still in 11th place and now three games back on the ninth-placed Pelicans. Crucially, the San Antonio Spurs, in the final play-in berth in 10th, have a full game advantage over LA.

The standings do not make for pretty reading for the Lakers, and Kendrick Perkins – Davis' former Pelicans team-mate – declared on Twitter after the game New Orleans had "put the Lakers out of their misery".

Davis still has belief, though, and insists it is not merely blind "hope", even if the Lakers have lost five in a row and have only five games remaining.

"Our mindset is to go 5-0 in these games and let the chips fall where they may," Davis said.

"We dropped this one, but we've got five left to try to control what we can control, and hopefully things fall in our favour.

"I think there is a lot of belief. We know what we're playing for. We know the position that we're in. We know we're playing against some top teams. So, I think we have to believe.

"I don't think it's hope. We don't play off hope and 'let's hope we win this game'. We have belief and I believe.

"We've got to go out and get it done. It's that simple. We have to win these games and we have to have that approach."

If the season ended today, the Los Angeles Lakers would not even make the play-in tournament after a painful 114-111 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The loss moves the Lakers' record to 31-46, and 4-16 in their past 20 games.

The Lakers built this game up as a must-win, re-inserting Anthony Davis to the line-up from a lengthy absence and LeBron James from an ankle sprain, but ultimately could not get stops down the stretch.

James was terrific, scoring 38 points on 13-23 shooting, while Davis was also strong, scoring 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) to go with 12 rebounds and six assists. During Davis' 37 minutes on the floor, the Lakers were plus four.

But the Pelicans' duo of C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram would not be denied, as McCollum led the way with 32 points (12-of-23 shooting), while Ingram chipped in with an efficient 29 on 10-of-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Lakers' five remaining games are at home against the Denver Nuggets, away at the Phoenix Suns, away at the Golden State Warriors, at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and away against the Nuggets.

The San Antonio Spurs currently lead the race for the 10 seed by one game.

 

Fill-in Grizzlies fill it up

Another game without Ja Morant, and another win for the Memphis Grizzlies as they got the better of the full-strength Phoenix Suns 122-114.

As well as Morant, Memphis was without center Steven Adams, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr and emerging shooting guard Desmond Bane, but in front of their home fans the replacement Grizzlies were up to the task.

Dillon Brooks top-scored for the Grizzlies with 30 points (11-of-28 shooting) and seven assists, while Devin Booker had 41 points on 17-of-28 shooting for the Suns.

Memphis are now 20-2 in games Morant has missed.

 

Celtics win a shootout, Covington goes bananas 

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both surpassed 30 points in the Boston Celtics' 128-123 win against the Indiana Pacers.

Tatum finished with 31 on 10-of-24 shooting, while Brown had 32 on 12-of-18, but the Celtics had to withstand a sharpshooting display from Tyrese Haliburton, who had 30 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including six-of-six from long range.

Meanwhile, Robert Covington played the game of his life as his Los Angeles Clippers beat an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks side 153-119.

Covington finished with 43 points, going 11-of-18 from three-point range, setting a new franchise record for threes made in a game, beating J.J. Redick and Caron Butler's previous joint-record of nine.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel felt his team's struggles in their defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans reflected a "disjointed" season after they lost 114-111 in a "playoff game".

The Lakers were beaten despite strong performances from their two biggest stars, as LeBron James racked up 38 points and eight rebounds while Anthony Davis returned from injury with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes.

C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram combined for 61 points for the Pelicans, who are now almost assured of their place in the play-in tournament.

The Lakers' play-in tournament chances took a massive hit with the loss – which moved their record to 4-16 in their past 20 games – sitting one game behind the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the 10 seed, with a difficult remaining schedule.

Speaking with post-game media, Vogel said he had no choice but to play James and Davis for extended minutes and cut down the rotation.

 "I think potentially [they were affected by fatigue down the stretch], but this was a playoff-mindset type of game, so those guys want to be in there," he said.

"We're communicating constantly throughout the game. I think both of them would say [they did not play too many minutes] – it's a playoff game, you got to be in there, you've got to compete. 

"This was a playoff game for us, so you use the roster however you see fit, given that matchup.

"C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram as a tandem, and with [Jonas] Valanciunas, those three guys are as good as just about any three you can put together in the league. That's why they're one of the hottest teams in the league.

"It's why we liked what Avery [Bradley] could bring to the table, and using Dwight [Howard] on Jonas as much as possible, but the guys who fell out of the rotation [including Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves] was just due to matchup."

Vogel felt the Lakers' issues scoring down the stretch were a microcosm of their campaign.

"I think it's the nature of the disjointed season that we've had – these guys haven't been on the floor in six weeks together," he said.

"We played last night – it was a tough travel situation getting in late and having to play an important game today, we just fell short. Those are the little things that are the difference between winning and losing.

"I won't look at [10th seed] San Antonio at all – obviously we'll find out what their scores look like, but our focus has to be on what we can control, and that's winning the next game."

If the season ended today, the Los Angeles Lakers would not even make the play-in tournament after a painful 114-111 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The loss moves the Lakers' record to 31-46, and 4-16 in their past 20 games.

The Lakers built this game up as a must-win, re-inserting Anthony Davis to the line-up from a lengthy absence and LeBron James from an ankle sprain, but ultimately could not get stops down the stretch.

James was terrific, scoring 38 points on 13-23 shooting, while Davis was also strong, scoring 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) to go with 12 rebounds and six assists. During Davis' 37 minutes on the floor, the Lakers were plus four.

But the Pelicans duo of C.J. McCollum and Brandon Ingram would not be denied, as McCollum led the way with 32 points (12-of-23 shooting), while Ingram chipped in with an efficient 29 on 10-of-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Lakers' five remaining games are at home against the Denver Nuggets, away at the Phoenix Suns, away at the Golden State Warriors, at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and away against the Nuggets.

The San Antonio Spurs currently lead the race for the 10 seed by one game.

 

Fill-in Grizzlies fill it up

Another game without Ja Morant, and another win for the Memphis Grizzlies as they got the better of the full-strength Phoenix Suns 122-114.

As well as Morant, Memphis was without center Steven Adams, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr and emerging shooting guard Desmond Bane, but in front of their home fans the replacement Grizzlies were up to the task.

Dillon Brooks top-scored for the Grizzlies with 30 points (11-of-28 shooting) and seven assists, while Devin Booker had 41 points on 17-of-28 shooting for the Suns.

Memphis are now 20-2 in games Morant has missed.

 

Celtics win a shoot-out, Covington goes bananas 

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both surpassed 30 points in the Boston Celtics' 128-123 win against the Indiana Pacers.

Tatum finished with 31 on 10-of-24 shooting, while Brown had 32 on 12-of-18, but the Celtics had to withstand a sharpshooting display from Tyrese Haliburton, who had 30 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including six-of-six from long range.

Meanwhile, Robert Covington played the game of his life as his Los Angeles Clippers beat an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks side 153-119.

Covington finished with 43 points, going 11-of-18 from three-point range, setting a new franchise record for threes made in a game, beating J.J. Redick and Caron Butler's previous joint-record of nine.

Anthony Davis completed his first full practice since sustaining a foot injury last month and is listed as doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. 

Lakers star Davis went down with three minutes remaining in the second quarter of the 106-101 victory over the Utah Jazz on February 16 and has not played since. 

Los Angeles have gone 4-12 in their 16 games since then but head coach Frank Vogel revealed Davis is nearing a return to the floor – though he expects it to take him some time to get back up to speed. 

"Positive sign. He went through full practice. Did all of our drill work and some live scrimmaging," said Vogel. 

"We're at a point now where it's really about how he responds to that and the level of soreness he has coming out of his first live work. He'll also be listed as doubtful for tomorrow. 

"He's got to get his legs under him – that's the biggest thing. When you have a foot injury like this it's not as easy to do all your running and stay in shape like if you had a wrist injury or something like that, so that's definitely going to take time. 

"And because of that you have to be more cautious with the return to play. Because if you throw him out there and he doesn't have his wind, then the injury becomes compromised or you overcompensate in some way and you don't want that. 

"So there's definitely going to be a stretch here when we get him back where he's still getting his legs under him." 

LeBron James, who was absent for two of the games Davis missed, is also doubtful to face the Mavericks due to a left ankle injury sustained in the 116-108 defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, which saw the Lakers blow a 23-point lead. 

"He definitely has some swelling from the ankle sprain and we'll list him as doubtful tomorrow. He stayed back from practice today to get some treatment on it," said Vogel. 

Davis and James have only played together 21 times this season and Vogel said it was typical of the campaign that the wait to pair them may be prolonged by the latter's injury. 

"It's been that type of year. Definitely snakebitten with trying to get those guys on the floor together. I think it's 17 or 18 games for the season [that James has missed] and it looks like it could be more than that now," said Vogel. 

"It's out of our control. It's unfortunate, but we have to lock in and again, like we've done all season, shift our identity on the floor with regard to who's in and who's out." 

The Lakers are 31-43 on the season and occupy the final play-in spot in the Western Conference with eight regular-season games remaining.

All-Star forward Anthony Davis is not 100 percent sure he will return for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

The 29-year-old has not played for the Lakers since sustaining a mid-foot sprain in his right foot on February 16.

Davis has endured another injury-cursed seasons for the Lakers, who are struggling to make the playoffs with a 29-38 record leaving them ninth in the west.

"I'm very optimistic about it," Davis told reporters before the Lakers' 140-111 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

"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."

The 28-year-old power forward has only played 37 of the Lakers' 67 games this season, averaging 23.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

Davis only managed 36 appearances for the Lakers last season and has a long history of missing time in season due to injuries.

The 2012 NBA Draft top pick has had a mix of thumb, knee, wrist and foot/ankle injuries disrupt his 2021-22 season.

"The first thing I thought was, 'Not again,'" Davis said when he recalled the incident from February 16. "I just got off of [being sidelined] four-to-six [weeks]. Now I got another four-to-six.

"That's where the anger came from. ... It was a little bit of relief that it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but more so anger of, 'Here we go again.'"

The Los Angeles Lakers' tough season continues with All-Star forward Anthony Davis to miss at least four weeks with a mid-foot sprain.

Davis went down writhing in pain after landing awkwardly as he twisted his ankle in the second quarter of the Lakers' come-from-behind 106-101 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

The eight-time All-Star underwent X-rays which came back negative but he has since been diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain following an MRI which will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

The 28-year-old power forward has only played 37 of the Lakers' 58 games this season, averaging 23.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

Davis only managed 36 appearances for the Lakers last season and has a long history of missing time in season due to injuries.

The 2012 NBA Draft top pick has had a mix of thumb, knee, wrist and foot/ankle injuries disrupt his 2021-22 season.

"Win games until we get him back," Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Wednesday. "It's that simple. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We don't know obviously how long it will be, but we gotta win as many games as we can down the stretch and believe in the group that we have. And hopefully we're able to get whole as quickly as possible."

The Lakers are 27-31 for the season but are still down in ninth in the Western Conference.

The Los Angeles Lakers' tough season continues with All-Star forward Anthony Davis to miss at least four weeks with a mid-foot sprain.

Davis went down writhing in pain after landing awkwardly as he twisted his ankle in the second quarter of the Lakers' come-from-behind 106-101 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

The eight-time All-Star underwent X-rays which came back negative but he has since been diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain following an MRI which will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

The 28-year-old power forward has only played 37 of the Lakers' 58 games this season, averaging 23.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

Davis only managed 36 appearances for the Lakers last season and has a long history of missing time in season due to injuries.

The 2012 NBA Draft top pick has had a mix of thumb, knee, wrist and foot/ankle injuries disrupt his 2021-22 season.

"Win games until we get him back," Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Wednesday. "It's that simple. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We don't know obviously how long it will be, but we gotta win as many games as we can down the stretch and believe in the group that we have. And hopefully we're able to get whole as quickly as possible."

The Lakers are 27-31 for the season but are still down in ninth in the Western Conference.

LeBron James says it was "sickening" to see Anthony Davis suffer an ankle injury during the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Utah Jazz but hopes his team-mate can make a swift return.

Davis reportedly faces two weeks on the sidelines after sustaining a suspected sprained ankle in the Lakers' 106-101 victory on Wednesday.

The forward left the Crypto.com Arena on crutches and will undergo an MRI scan on Thursday heading into the All-Star break.

James, who scored a team-high 33 points, said: "Obviously it's sickening to see AD go down in that fashion

"I hope he's fine. Obviously, I mean, I know he's not great, but obviously his health is most important for him individually, for our ballclub.

"I've seen [injuries] too many times, obviously. So I just wish him the best."

 

Davis had 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting before his participation was cut short.

In the absence of Davis, who had only recently returned after missing 17 games with a sprained knee, the Lakers stepped up to snap a three-game losing run.

They trailed by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, but went on a 19-4 run with James inspiring the comeback.

The Lakers superstar scored 15 points in the final quarter and has now scored 25 points or more in a career-best 23 straight games.

Frank Vogel's side are now 27-31 for the season but are still down in ninth in the Western Conference, while the 36-22 Jazz are in fourth after suffering a first loss in seven outings.

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