The fortunes of the two Los Angeles NBA franchises are on opposite ends of the playoff roller coaster, the pendulum swinging wildly over the past seven days.
It was all good just a week ago for the Lakers, the proud champions who seemed poised to find stable ground after an injury-filled and draining season but now are at the doorstep for more trouble, tied with the Phoenix Suns after four games.
The Los Angeles Clippers just pulled themselves from that doorstep, leaving the neighborhood of disaster after discovering some necessary mettle and looking every bit like the team intent on changing the narrative.
Anthony Davis’ groin injury adds to the litany of ailments that makes a road to a repeat more difficult. The Suns have injury issues of their own, with Chris Paul’s shoulder severely hindering his effectiveness.
But the Suns are growing in confidence with each game, its young players feeling more comfortable and less in awe of who’s on the other side. It could take a herculean effort from LeBron James, a signature game he’s certainly capable of, to escape this series.
While Paul is valuable to the Suns, Davis anchors the Lakers’ top-ranked defense and has started to reclaim the form of the player who dominated in the bubble last summer. His calf injury was a big reason why he didn’t take the next step this year, and he was already dealing with a hyperextended knee heading into Sunday’s Game 4.