Anthony Davis Lurking under the basket, his hands held his head.
he stumbled taking The bench, his legs wobbled, his shoulders slumped.
He returned to the locker room in a wheelchair, apparently too disoriented to walk.
He subsequently left Chase Center under his own power, taking the last to leave the locker room, walking toward the bus with slow and deliberate steps.
breath. Stop. the Scream!
This is what the Lakers were afraid of. That's what Laker fans were afraid of. This is exactly what the Golden State Warriors needed.
This can be a nightmare.
The situation has been a running joke for a long time, but it's not funny anymore, not with the Lakers in the midst of a serious championship run, not with their big man in the midst of career-defining dominance.
Davis could be injured again, and all hell could be about to break loose.
With 7:43 left in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Wednesday night, Davis was elbowed in the temple by Kevon Looney of the Warriors.
Nine seconds later, Davis left the game, and so did the Lakers' hopes, their burgeoning comeback bid, in one fell swoop. lost 121-106 Which has turned this series upside down.
What was once a three games to one loss has now become a three games to two nail biter.
Where the Lakers had three chances to end it, now they basically have one.
If they don't win Game 6 at the Crypto.com Arena on Friday night, they'll be forced to return for Game 7 here against the defending champions in a hostile environment and, well, they want no part of it.
What difference does it make to the elbow.
The Lakers unexpectedly gave no details on his condition, and, while Chris Haynes of tnt reported that Davis “looks like he's recovered from an injury,” it was all very mysterious.
The only thing that was certain was that the sad Lakers didn't look thrilled.
By the time media were allowed entry about 30 minutes after the game, Davis' locker had been cleaned out, so it was left to his shocked coach and exhausted teammates to report what they had seen. .
He was as unsure as anyone.
coach darwin ham entered the postgame news conference and said, “It looks like he's doing really well already.”
When asked about Davis' next steps medically, the coach was clearly incensed and said, “We're done with the game right now.”
Austin Reeves said he thought Davis would play on Friday, but wondered what would happen if he didn't.
“Obviously AD is huge for what we do,” he said. “I believe he will play. If he doesn't, we're still a bunch of NBA basketball players who played games this year without him.
Reeves, who scrambled for 15 points and often got burned defensively, said, “Like I said, you never want to play a game, a big game, without a guy like that, but that's the nature of the game.” That's it, really. Score more points.
LeBron James struggled to lead the team on his own down the stretch and when asked about his running mate about an hour after the game, he said, “I didn't see the shot. I just saw the result.” But the medical team said he is doing better. That's what matters the most.
When Davis left Wednesday's game, the Lakers had cut their 18-point lead to 11. With their towering presence gone, they gradually shrunk and could not maintain their fervor.
“We had some good moments,” James said. “But not as close to 48 minutes as we should be.”
The unsaid was that those good moments usually happen when Davis is on the court. After this season of the season, it has become clear that Davis, not James, is the most important player of the Lakers.
It is Davis who is the most nonchalant. It is Davis who is the most invincible. It is Davis who is most feared.
For the game, Davis scored 23 points with nine rebounds while playing with four fouls against a driving Warriors attack.
For the playoffs, Davis has easily been the league's most dominant defensive force, averaging 22 points a game along with four blocks, two steals and 14 rebounds.
They can't win the championship without him. They probably wouldn't have won this series without him. If he misses a game due to injury, those 48 minutes could carry over to the end of the Lakers' season.
With Davis not playing his full minutes on Wednesday, the Warriors trailed the Lakers by 10 and were outscored by only two points in the paint. The driving and dishing champ can take advantage of his absence in more ways than one. If that doesn't come on Friday, expect to see all of them.
“Obviously they're a proud group,” Haim said. “Hats off to him, taking care of business on his downstairs.”
No hats off to the “NBA on TNT” crew for laughing about Davis' injury on Wednesday night, even while ridiculing him for using a wheelchair.
Davis has justifiably been the butt of many jokes during his career in which he has missed so many games with aches and pains, earning him the nickname “Street Clothes”.
But it was a head injury. It was no laughing matter.
Anthony Davis could be injured again, and this time, there's nothing funny about it.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times,