NBA

I was more worried about LeBron than my knee! – Returning Lakers star Davis talks James celebration

By Sports Desk January 26, 2022

Anthony Davis joked he was more concerned about LeBron James than his own recovering knee following a celebration during the Los Angeles Lakers' 106-96 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets.

Superstar James put up 33 points as the Lakers moved to 24-24 in an inconsistent season, but it was the return of Davis after a 17-game absence with a sprained knee that will have been a particularly pleasing sight.

Davis contributed eight points to go with two assists and two rebounds from 25 minutes on court and the Lakers will hope his return can help spark a strong run in the latter half of the season.

There was one moment of concern for Davis, though, who knocked James off balance after his illustrious team-mate managed a couple of steals and dunks in quick succession during the fourth quarter.

"Can't think about it. When I’m on the floor I try not to think about it," Davis said about his knee and the celebrations. 

"I was what, a month, five weeks, doing a lot of weightlifting. So, I hit him, he kind of like fell over. I was more worried for him than my knee!"

Davis took little time getting back up to speed and blocked three shots in a first quarter that saw the Lakers leading 33-25.

James was delighted to have his team-mate back on court.

"Obviously right away you see what he's capable of," James said. 

"We draw a play right to start the game, I was able to turn the corner and threw a late lob that he was still able to throw home. So very exciting to have him back."

The Nets were still without Kevin Durant (knee), while Kyrie Irving was again unavailable. Irving is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore is not eligible to play in matches in New York under the city's health protocols.

James Harden had 33 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists but was later asked about reports he is frustrated at the Nets.

"Listen, I don't know about any reports," Harden said. "Of course I'm frustrated because we're not healthy, there's a lot of inconsistency for whatever reason. 

"Injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it, so yeah, it is frustrating. I think everyone in this organisation is frustrated because we are better than our record is and we should be on the way up. So that's all it is."

The reports suggested Harden is frustrated by Irving's mixed availability and the rotations of head coach Steve Nash, who said he cannot imagine his player making such comments.

"So I'm not sure what to believe," Nash said. 

"James and I speak all the time and I think we have a great relationship, so I'm not sure the validity of these comments to be honest with you."

Related items

  • 'We know what's at stake' – Tatum a '10 for confidence' as Celtics target NBA Finals 'We know what's at stake' – Tatum a '10 for confidence' as Celtics target NBA Finals

    Jayson Tatum is full of confidence that the Boston Celtics will bounce back against the Miami Heat and seal a place in the NBA Finals.

    Jimmy Butler turned in one of the great playoff displays for the Heat on Friday as a 111-103 away win forced the Eastern Conference Finals series to Game 7, tied at 3-3.

    Butler scored a playoff career-high 47 points, claimed nine rebounds and provided eight assists, with 17 of his points coming in the final quarter.

    While the momentum might now be with the Heat, who have home-court advantage for the final game of the series, Tatum believes the Celtics can step up.

    Asked what his confidence level was heading into Game 7, Tatum replied: "On a scale from 1-10 – 10. It shouldn't be any less than that, right? You know, it's the last game. This is what it's all about. 

    "On a scale from 1-10, it's a 10 for my confidence level in myself and the group.

    "It's no secret, it's Game 7. A trip to the NBA Finals – there's a lot on the line.

    "A couple of us have been in this situation before, so we know what's at stake, we know how much this means to everybody. We know that going into the game."

    Tatum led the way for Boston, scoring 30 points and finishing with nine rebounds and four assists, though he only made one shot in the fourth quarter while Butler took hold at the other end.

    "I think it was just in the flow of the game, and how the game was going," Tatum said.

    "Obviously I've got to watch the film, and things like that, but I think being out there, and the feel of the game, I was drawing a lot of attention.

    "I was trying to find a mismatch, obviously, and when I find it, they sent a double, so I'd find the open man. I think it was just kind of how the flow of the game was going."

  • Kyle Lowry calls 'incredible' Jimmy Butler 'one of the best players I've played with' Kyle Lowry calls 'incredible' Jimmy Butler 'one of the best players I've played with'

    Miami Heat point guard Kyle Lowry gushed over the performance of teammate Jimmy Butler as they avoided elimination with a 111-103 Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics, tying the series at 3-3 with Game 7 headed back to Miami.

    Butler played arguably the greatest game of his career in the must-win fixture, racking up 47 points on 16-of-29 shooting, including going four-of-eight from long range and 11-of-11 from the free throw line. 

    He added nine rebounds, eight assists, four steals and a block, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988 to have multiple games of at least 40 points and four steals in the same series.

    After only producing a combined 14 points and eight assists in the three games he played this series, Lowry was superb, scoring 18 points and dishing 10 assists before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

    Speaking to post-game media, after Butler said he "did decent throughout the game", Lowry made it evident what he thought of his teammate's performance.

    "[Butler was] f****** incredible – my bad, don't fine me NBA, that was really my mistake," he said.

    "I just think he's such a humble basketball player, and the work he does put in – I witness it. 

    "It's incredible to have a guy like him next to me. I've played with some great players, and he's one of the best players I've played with. 

    "To do it on this stage – Game 6, win or go home, do or die – I wouldn't want to lace them up with many other people than this guy."

    He later touched on his own struggles, and how he overcame them with everything on the line.

    "I'm never going to make an excuse – I've played bad before – and I have opportunities to redeem myself," he said.

    "I've got great guys in the locker room, great guys in my team, great organisation, great people in my life who just support me.

    "Tonight was one of those chances – I think coach would have said it's a 'legacy game' – and I think having a guy like [Butler] next to me helped that."

    Butler – as well as imploring the league to fine Lowry for his profanity, in jest – highlighted a phone call he had with Heat legend Dwyane Wade in the lead-up.

    "D-Wade never hits me [up] until his voice is really, really needed – and it was," he said.

    "I texted him and told him I appreciate him for it, just letting me know to go out there and continue to build on that legacy, and make sure we win… it just feels great to get one on the road.

    "I think we just did our job – we've been saying it this entire series. It's not finished yet, we've got Game 7 at the crib, and we need to win."

  • Jimmy Butler's legendary performance lifts Miami Heat to season-saving Game 6 victory Jimmy Butler's legendary performance lifts Miami Heat to season-saving Game 6 victory

    Jimmy Butler played the game of his life to lift the Miami Heat to a 111-103 win away from home against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday.

    The win keeps the Heat's season alive, tying the series at 3-3, with Game 7 heading back to Miami on Sunday.

    Butler had complete control of the game throughout, scoring 21 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing six assists – and that was just in the first half, single-handedly carrying the Heat to a 48-46 lead at the long break.

    He went on to finish with a playoff career high of 47 points on 16-of-29 shooting (four-of-eight from three, 11-of-11 free throws) with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals – scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter – as he played 46 minutes, including the entire second half.

    Butler was the driving force for the Heat, but they shot the ball well as a team, hitting 15-of-35 three-pointers (42 per cent) as Kyle Lowry and Max Strus hit big shots when they were needed, combining for seven made threes.

    Lowry, after a combined 14 points and eight assists in the three contests prior to Game 6 he was healthy for, scored 18 points (five-of-14 from the field, four-of-nine from deep) and dished 10 assists, while Max Strus hit three-of-eight from long range for his 12 points.

    Jayson Tatum finished with a strong stat-line, scoring 30 points with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he had seven turnovers, only attempted 12 field goals (nine-of-12), and only scored one field goal in the fourth quarter when the Celtics were desperate for their superstar to impose his will.

    Derrick White was arguably the Celtics' best performer, scoring 22 points (seven-of-14 shooting, four-of-seven from three) with five assists and three steals off the bench, while Jaylen Brown was also solid, scoring 20 (six-of-13 shooting) with six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

    Ultimately, it will be remembered as Butler's greatest performance, attempting more field goals than Brown and Tatum combined, while having the best defense in the NBA entirely focused on him, and delivering efficiently from all areas while the lights shined their brightest.

    With his Game 6 showing, he became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988 to have multiple games in a playoff series with at least 40 points and four steals.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.