NBA

Lakers to make game-time decision as Davis closes in on return from injury

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

The return of Anthony Davis is imminent with the Los Angeles Lakers listing the All-Star as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Miami Heat.

Davis has been out of action since December 17 due to a sprained MCL in his left knee but he is considered a game-time decision for Sunday.

The Lakers, who are 23-23 this season, have gone 7-9 in Davis' absence across the past 16 games.

"Whenever AD is ready, we're going to love that, that's for sure," Davis' Lakers teammate LeBron James told reporters on Friday.

"I mean he's one of our biggest guns that we have, and having him on the floor, it just creates so much for us offensively and defensively, able to do so much more.

"But his health is what's most important, and once we know that he's healthy, he knows that he's healthy, we get him back on the floor and then we start getting his wind and his rhythm."

Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals this season.

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    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Eastern Conference Finals will be an old-school defensive slugfest, and that he feels the best two teams made it.

    The Heat needed six games to triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics came back from 3-2 down against the Milwaukee Bucks to get the job done in Game 7.

    As a reward for getting their series out of the way early, the Heat will have five days of rest before Tuesday's Game 1, while the Celtics have just one proper rest day between series.

    Speaking to the media after Monday's practice, Spoelstra said it is shaping up as a series that will warm the heart of Heat president Pat Riley.

    "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," he said. "This is like a throwback series. 

    "If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. 

    "So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins… really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals.

    "Boston has played as well as anyone in the entire league once they got to 2022. It's not by accident. They're playing very strong basketball. They do it on both ends."

    Heat star Jimmy Butler was asked about his potential matchup against Jayson Tatum, and he had nothing but praise for the Celtics' best player.

    "He's one of the best in the game right now," he said. "As much attention as he draws on the offensive end – and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity. 

    "You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

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