The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t played since last Saturday, but they still have injury concerns ahead of tonight’s game.
Former Kentucky Wildcats Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo are both listed as probable for the Lakers’ Game 1 matchup against the Houston Rockets in the NBA’s Western Conference Semifinals. Davis is dealing with a left finger sprain while Rondo has yet to make an appearance inside the Orlando Bubble as he’s been recovering from back spasms.
Rockets with no injuries listed in the morning report. Lakers' Anthony Davis (left finger sprain), LeBron James (sore right groin) and Rajon Rondo (back spasms) are probable. Rondo would be playing for the first time since March 10.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) September 4, 2020
Davis has stayed relatively healthy throughout the seeding games and the first round of the playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers, although he has battled a series of minor setbacks along the way. He’s had to leave an early Bubble game after being severely poked in the eye, has dealt with a slight ankle injury, left Game 4 against the Blazers due to back spasms, and now has a sprained pinky on his non-shooting hand.
On the flip side, Rondo has yet to make his Bubble debut after he underwent surgery on a fractured thumb back in mid-July. It was anticipated that he would finally return during the first round against Portland but he was ruled out just prior to the start of Game 3 with back spasms.
Davis’ impact on the court is obvious to the Lakers, as he’s the second most important piece on the roster behind LeBron James. When it comes to scoring the ball, the one-time ‘Cat is relied upon even more so than LeBron is. During the first round, Davis posted averages of 29.8 points (a team-high), 9.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting over 57 percent from the floor and 38.9 percent from deep on 18 total attempts.
As for Rondo, the hope will be that he can come in and help facilitate for an already depleted Lakers backcourt. In the first-round series, L.A. really only played one true point guard in Alex Caruso with LeBron controlling most of the on-ball action. Bringing back Rondo will help ease some of that pressure off of LeBron to where he can make more of an impact off the ball or even when he’s on the bench. Against a Rockets team that is quite literally built around the concept of small-ball, any extra contribution from the backcourt will be welcome.
Game 1 will take place later this evening on ESPN at 9:00 p.m.
UPDATE (7:24 p.m.) – Rondo WILL play tonight, coming off the bench.
Frank Vogel says that Rajon Rondo will play tonight and come off the bench. It will be his first game action since March.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 4, 2020