LeBron James on Possibly Playing Without Anthony Davis: 'I'm Ready for the Challenge'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, falls after being fouled as Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul stands at left during the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday, May 30, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

LeBron James is ready for the additional responsibility of playing without Anthony Davis if it comes to that.

"These shoulders are built for a reason," the Los Angeles Lakers star told reporters after Sunday's 100-92 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. "If there is going to be some more put on them, so be it. Win, lose or draw, I'm ready for the challenge."

Davis left in the first half with a groin injury and never returned.

James also didn't want to speculate on how long the big man may be sidelined for heading into Tuesday's Game 5. 

"I have no idea the severity of his groin injury," the King said. "I haven't talked to him. I'm not sure ... Until we know, I'm not gonna comment on it."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported it is "unclear" whether Davis, who was ruled day-to-day, will play in Tuesday's Game 5.

The Lakers were down just four at halftime in Sunday's game but fell apart in the third quarter without Davis. Phoenix won the quarter by 12, which gave it enough breathing room to survive Los Angeles' late charge with James leading the way.

LeBron finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as the only Laker who posted more than 12 points.

Injuries are nothing new for the Purple and Gold, who were relegated to the play-in tournament in large part because James (ankle) and Davis (calf and Achilles) were sidelined for significant periods of time during the regular season.

It appears as if the Lakers may have to once again figure out how to play without one of their two big stars, which will increase the workload for the 36-year-old James and put more pressure on the frontcourt rotation of Marc Gasol and Andre Drummond.

Game 5 is Tuesday in Phoenix, where both sides will look to seize control of the series.