2021 NBA playoffs: Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James ready for challenge if Anthony Davis’ injury keeps him out

The Los Angeles Lakers will get no sympathy from the Phoenix Suns or any of the remaining playoff teams after they lost star forward Anthony Davis to a groin injury during a 100-92 loss Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

The Suns, after all, have been playing this first-round Western Conference playoff series with a very limited version of Chris Paul (shoulder).
And the Lakers, of course, still have LeBron James — a 36-year-old still working his way back from an ankle injury that cost him more than a third of the season version of LeBron James.

But still, a LeBron James who has never lost in the first round of the playoffs.

“When I competed against the Miami Heat, and either [Dwyane] Wade or [Chris] Bosh was out, that meant more touches for Bron,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “And that wasn’t always a good thing for my Pacers teams.”

That version of James was in his late 20s, however. And he wasn’t coming off a serious ankle injury. The mid-30s version of James has thus far held off or counteracted the effects of age to remain one of the most dominant players in the NBA.

But the Lakers’ title defense now rides on whether this version of James can carry them through a Suns team that tied the series 2-2 as it heads back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday.

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