James, Davis watch debacle in Dallas as Lakers await return

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James walks the floor in street clothes during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS – LeBron James and Anthony Davis were together on the bench for a Los Angeles debacle in Dallas that further endangered the postseason hopes of the Lakers.

Now the club waits to see when the All-Star pair will be together on the floor again, and whether it will be in time to secure a play-in spot for the second consecutive year for the 2020 champs.

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James missed the 128-110 loss to the Mavericks, which included deficits of 30 points in the first half and 37 in the second, with soreness and swelling in his sprained right ankle.

Davis is on the brink of returning after being out since Feb. 16 with a right mid-foot sprain. He also missed a month with a knee injury, so the title-winning pair from two years ago in the playoff bubble has been limited to 21 games together this season.

If No. 22 doesn't come soon, it might be too late. Technically, the Lakers (31-44) are out of the Western Conference play-in tournament at the moment. LA is tied for 10th, the final spot, with San Antonio, which holds the tiebreaker.

Vogel said a decision on the possible return of Davis, along with James’ status, would be updated before the Lakers play at Utah on Thursday to end a three-game trip.

The Lakers play again Friday at home against New Orleans. The Pelicans are ninth in the West, a game ahead of the Lakers and Spurs.

“The standings are the results,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We have to keep our focus on the process and the work. Those things are going to lead to the next win. That’s the only place our focus will be.”

James, the NBA scoring leader, and Davis were listed as doubtful for the Dallas game, which was actually an upgrade for Davis. The eight-time All-Star went through a full practice for the first time since his injury Monday in Dallas.

“Obviously, this whole thing is built around them,” said Stanley Johnson, who tied his season high with 16 points against the Mavericks. “It's a lot easier to play basketball for me, for everybody else when they're playing. But if they're hurt and they can't play, we have to be professionals as well and do our job. We have to play better than that.”


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