Anthony Davis on playing in Game 6 loss to Suns: 'I don't regret anything'

·3-min read

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis walked out of Staples Center Thursday night without any regrets about attempting to play in Game 6 with a left groin strain.

“I couldn’t move to my right,” Davis told Yahoo Sports after the Phoenix Suns eliminated them in six games. “That’s why I reacted that way [in the first quarter] when [Devin] Booker drove left and I had to slide to my right. That s*** hurt. There was nothing I could do, but I just wanted to be out there for my team so bad."

Davis wasn’t moving well from the tip. It was apparent immediately that he wouldn’t last long in the game. He played a little over five minutes before he summoned to be removed from the game.

Without a healthy Davis, the defending champions didn’t have a chance against the spry legs of the Suns.

Davis chose to play even with some of his teammates against the idea, sources said.

“Me going out there didn’t have anything to do with me trying to be tough; I felt I owed it to my team to try to be out there with them,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I knew the only way I was going to be healthy enough to play was to get some rest, but time wasn’t on my side. So, I tried to give it a go. I don’t regret anything. I’ll be fine. Our team will be fine. I like our chances when healthy.”

LeBron James is looking forward to the rest, too. 

The four-time champ was 85% healthy for the series, but that percentage fluctuated game-to-game, sources said. 

The high-ankle sprain was the main reason he wasn’t able to routinely penetrate and attack the paint like he’s accustomed to doing.

Los Angeles, CA - June 03:  Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers sits on the court after a injury against the Phoenix Suns in the first half of game six of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoff basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Anthony Davis sits on the court after an injury against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns defeated the Lakers, ending their season. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

“I’m not worried about anything,” James told Yahoo Sports. “I just need rest. I was told that from the beginning. I gave what I had.”

Now it’s time for the Lakers to assess what they have moving forward. Multiple players underperformed in this series, including Dennis Schroder, who’s a free agent; Kyle Kuzma; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope; and Alex Caruso.

The roles of Andre Drummond and last year's Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell diminished. The Lakers could have an entire new nucleus of role players heading into the 2021-22 season.

And a vital member of the coaching staff could likely depart this offseason.

The Lakers front office has raved about assistant coach Jason Kidd, expressing how he’s been a phenomenal presence in the organization from his innovative ideas to his communication skills and his ability to rally the troops, sources said. 

Kidd — who was previously a head coach in Brooklyn and Milwaukee — is expected to interview for the Boston Celtics' head coach opening and is expected to be a top target of the Portland Trail Blazers with the anticipation that Terry Stotts will be relieved of his duties after nine seasons with the team, sources said.

The Lakers believe Kidd should be a top candidate among all available NBA coaching gigs.

Rob Pelinka, president of basketball operations, made bold moves to improve the roster last offseason. Unfortunately, injuries, COVID-19 absences and a lack of time didn’t allow for proper evaluation.

But just like any other executive who was fortunate to have James on the roster, you can expect a flurry of moves on the horizon to assemble the best talent to fit alongside James and Davis.

The Lakers came up short on the repeat quest, but James and company are far from done.

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