LOS ANGELES – With the Los Angeles Lakers season on the line, Anthony Davis will return to the lineup Thursday after missing the previous game and a half of the reigning champions first-round series against the Phoenix Suns with a groin strain.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters before the game that the decision whether to play Davis or not would be up to Los Angeles medical staff after they evaluated Davis in the arena.
The seventh-ranked Lakers are trailing the Suns 3-2 in the series, and a loss on Thursday would make Los Angeles the sixth defending champion in League history to lose in the first round of the Playoffs the following year. .
Phoenix, on the other hand, could win a playoff series for the first time since 2010.
The Suns prepared for Davis, who averaged 34 points and 10.5 rebounds in Los Angeles’ two series wins, to be available.
“We have prepared for Anthony to play,” Suns coach Monty Williams said before the game.
Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who missed Game 4 and left Game 5 early due to a sore left knee, will also play, Vogel said.
Since Los Angeles needs the win to extend their season, Vogel was asked if he would allow Davis and Caldwell-Pope a longer time to overcome their injuries than he normally would.
“I mean, it’s just something you feel,” he said. “We will communicate with the medical staff throughout the process and obviously the coaching staff and I will evaluate and measure how well those guys are moving on the floor … So we will watch the first half, every minute, every play and we will evaluate that throughout the night. “
Following the Lakers’ 30-point loss in Game 5, Vogel said his team “will find out what we’re made of” in Game 6.