AD Injury

Laker fans, you can exhale and finally breathe again.

Jim Rome
January 08, 2020 - 9:18 am
Anthony Davis

USA Today

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It’s hard to remember right now, but there was a time last year where there was a serious conversation about who was a bigger disaster: the New York Knicks or the Los Angeles Lakers. And that wasn’t just some tired “embrace debate” topics, it was a legitimate question. And the fact that it was even being asked, let alone even an actual debate, might have been the most insulting thing to Laker fans ever.

But then the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis. And brought in Frank Vogel. And reshaped the roster. And the Knicks whiffed on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and fired David Fizdale. 

The 9-27 Knicks played the 29-7 Lakers last night at Staples. And the differences in the two teams could not have been bigger. Watching both teams over the course of the season and last night, they barely belonged in the same conversation, let alone on the same court.  Much less the same SPORT.

You had LeBron doing what he does. And Alex Caruso doing what he does, namely throwing down vicious dunks. 

Damn near going coast to coast, rocking a headband and rocking the rim. Get that guy to the All-Star Game, Stat! And put him in the slam dunk contest while you’re at it.

And as long as we’re talking about Lakers at the All-Star Weekend, how about a look for my guy Dwight Howard in the three-point contest?

I’m not sure what I like better, Caruso setting him up or JaVale McGee galloping around the bench in celebration when Dwight drained it. 

But the Knicks weren’t just showing up to be a punching bag. They were looking to throw. And they did. Like when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went up for a dunk and Bobby Portis met him in the air. And when I say met him in the air, I mean BP’s forearm met KCP’s skull.

What Portis looking to block the shot or the skull? Because it looked like he was trying to swat KCP’s dome into the stands. KCP’s headband came flying off and I’m surprised his head didn’t go flying after it.  

Portis was tossed for that, and rightly so, but it wasn’t the end of the physicality. There was more.

In the third quarter, Reggie Bullock absolutely rag-dolled JaVale McGee in the paint. 

And then, scariest of all, for Laker fans, the stuff of nightmares, happened a few minutes later when Anthony Davis went to block a shot. 

Davis was down on the ground, pounding the floor in pain. That is something you never want to see, if you’re a Laker fan or just a fan of basketball. Or a fan of life. And he stayed down for a while, before eventually getting to his feet with some help and walking off the floor. 

Chris Haynes tweeted after the game: Anthony Davis was escorted out of the arena laying on the bed of a motor carrier. “I’m fine,” he told Yahoo Sports while acknowledging he’ll miss some time.

I’m glad to hear he’s fine. But I sure as hell don’t love hearing the part about “laying on the bed of a motor carrier.” That doesn’t sound fine. I know everyone is taking every precaution and they should, but it’s never great when you see one of the pillars of the franchise rolling out on a motor carrier. 

That is not what the Lakers had in mind when they traded for him at all. And certainly not what anyone was hoping for when this season got off to such a great start. 

As well as the Lakers played last night and as much as they beat the crap out of the Knicks on the scoreboard, Anthony Davis crashing into the floor like that is the kind of thing that not only ruins a night where the Lakers blew out the Knicks 117-87, but it ruins the week. 

Because before the MRI came back, the expectation was that Davis would miss the upcoming road trip. 

So where do the Lakers go from here? As LeBron said, you cannot replace Anthony Davis. 

As Caruso said, you cannot replace Gerry Bertier: "It's like that old 'Remember the Titans' [scene], like, 'You cannot replace a Gerry Bertier.' So, it's like you can't replace AD with one person. You got to do it by committee, so it's got to be spot minutes here and there, depending on who has got to be in there and we just got to try and replicate how hard he plays. We obviously can't be 6-10 and shoot 3s and take people off the dribble and dunk. We just have to be able to play as hard as we can in our roles and do what we can to make up for that." 

Good news – they might not have to, at least not for long. Because the MRI is back and while it was initially expected that Davis would miss the road trip to Dallas and OKC, he’s now expected to be part of the road trip and might even play in Dallas. 

Laker fans, you can exhale and finally breathe again. Because you just dodged a major problem.  Wish I could say the same for you, Knicks fan.  Your team still sucks.  Your franchise is still a laughingstock. And hasn’t dodged anything, other than SUCCESS.  RELEVELANCE.  AND CLASS.  But Laker fan, you’re all good, because AD hitting the deck wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked.  Which is a good thing: because it looked terrible.