Lakers may be without Anthony Davis, LeBron James vs. Hawks

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 10:21 AM

Hoping to maintain their tenuous grip on one of the final play-in spots in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers now face the prospect of playing the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at home without either of their top two players.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis is being listed as questionable for Monday’s game with a corneal abrasion that knocked him out of Saturday’s 128-121 loss to the Golden State Warriors after one quarter.

Fellow star LeBron James, who has regularly been listed on the injury report of late as a precaution, is listed again as questionable with ongoing ankle soreness.

Los Angeles had been feeling good about its play since the All-Star break, with Davis saying a week ago that the Lakers (36-32) can beat anybody “if we play the right way.” That was when the Lakers had won five of seven games and Davis was coming off a 27-point, 25-rebound game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But Los Angeles has since lost consecutive games, with things falling apart Saturday when Davis departed. The Lakers led 36-30 after one quarter, then trailed by a point at halftime and were outscored 35-27 in the third quarter. Golden State had four points in the paint in the first quarter then had 58 over the final three periods.

“When you lose AD, it just hurts the balance of our team,” James said. “Our coaching staff has been pretty good with having a certain rotation and how we work in our rotations, so now that changes a lot of things. Golden State, you tip your hat to them. They played exceptionally well. It’s just tough when you have a big component to the puzzle and then you don’t have it.”

The Lakers entered the game ninth in the Western Conference standings and departed in 10th but still in possession of the final play-in tournament spot.

The Hawks (30-37) also are well versed in injury issues, while matching the Lakers’ status as the last play-in eligible team in their conference.

Atlanta helped its postseason cause Sunday with a 110-93 victory over the Clippers as Trae Young missed his 11th consecutive game after finger surgery. Atlanta led by as many as 29 points and went 17 of 34 from 3-point range as it ended a three-game losing streak.

“I think our players said some things to each other, and I think they’re talking about the right things, which are things we need to do on defense,” Hawks head coach Quin Snyder said. “We’re trying to be focused on doing those things. And offensively, we’re really attacking as a group. I was happy with the way we played.”

Dejounte Murray scored 21 points with 10 assists for the Hawks on Sunday. De’Andre Hunter had 20 points, Jalen Johnson had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Clint Capela added 15 points with 13 rebounds.

Bogdan Bogdanovic returned after missing Friday’s loss at Utah with an illness and scored 11 points against the Clippers, but departed with 7:11 remaining in the game and went back to the locker room.

The Hawks are now 6-5 since Young has been out, with a five-game homestand ahead after facing the Lakers and then the Phoenix Suns in the desert Thursday.

–Field Level Media