LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis missed the second half of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday after straining his left groin muscle.
In related news, the Lakers finished with a 100-92 loss to Phoenix, which ties the series at 2-2 and sets up a potentially decisive Game 6 on Thursday in Los Angeles. The Lakers and Suns play Game 5 on Tuesday in Phoenix.
Davis landed on the court with a hard thud after catching a pass in the final minute. After a few moments, Davis stood up without any assistance. But he walked with a noticeable limp.
Once the halftime buzzer sounded, Davis walked toward the Suns’ basket and hunched over in pain. He eventually walked to the locker room.
The Lakers’ medical staff evaluated Davis at halftime and finalized their decision to sit him out without about eight minutes left in the third quarter.
NOT CELEBRATING:Sixers rout Wizards for 3-0 series lead but say, ‘We’ve done nothing’
Davis had six points while shooting 2-for-9 from the field and 0-for-3 from 3-point range along with four rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes.
Davis had was already nursing a sprained left knee after landing awkwardly following a chase-down block on Suns guard Devin Booker with 2:30 left in the first half of Game 3. But Davis stayed in the game and finished with 34 points on 11-for-22 shooting.
After Saturday’s practice, Davis said he had some swelling in his left knee but vowed that he would play anyway. The Lakers’ medical staff cleared Davis to play Game 4 on Sunday morning.
Davis also missed a combined 30 games this season after straining his left calf.
Below are other takeaways of the game.
Lakers could not score after Anthony Davis’ absence.
The Suns outscored the Lakers significantly in the third quarter (27-15). Davis may have struggled with his shot before his injury. But his presence at least helped open up opportunities for his teammates to score. LeBron James and Davis often played the two-man game. Davis also passed out of double teams, which set up open shots at the rim and from 3-point range.
The Lakers showed some more fight toward the end by outscoring the Suns in the fourth quarter (27-19). But the Lakers also squandered some opportunities. Lakers center Marc Gasol committed a costly turnover at the top of the key, while James and Dennis Schroder missed two open layups in the final minute of the game.
LeBron James discovered the Fountain of Youth, but it had its limits.
I’m no doctor, but James showed at various times in Game 4 that the high right ankle sprain does not bother him as much as it did when he missed a combined 26 games this season.
James threw a nifty behind-the-back pass to Ben McLemore. James then performed a nifty spin move before finishing with dunk. That captured James finishing with 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting along with 12 rebounds and six assists. But it’s a bit much to ask James to do too much more.
The Lakers continue struggling with their 3-point shooting
If the Lakers are going to generate any offense without Davis moving forward, it’s going to have to rely on more than just James. They will have to be a better 3-point shooting team. In Game 4, the Lakers shot 13-of-39 from beyond the arc after also struggling from long range in Game 1 (7-of-26), Game 2 (10-of-33) and Game 3 (7-of-28).
It did not help the Lakers played without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after he suffered a left knee contusion in Game 3. He has shot 41% from deep this season. But the Lakers failed to build on some positive signs from Wesley Matthews (2-of-4) and McLemore (2-of-3) and Marc Gasol (3-of-5). Had James (1-of-7) and Kyle Kuzma (1-of-5) shot relatively better from deep, it could have been a whole different game.
Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Sign for USA TODAY’s various subscription deals.