The Lakers duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James played the final eight games of the regular season together, the longest streak of games both have been available in the regular season since the start of the COVID season when they played nine straight games from Jan. 10-27 in 2021. For the majority of the last three seasons since winning the title, LeBron and AD have alternated injuries and availability with the Lakers floundering in the times between.
It’s encouraging that the pair finally could stay on the court together, but both have also nursed injuries that sidelined them for long segments of this season, LeBron with his foot tendon injury and AD with his stress injury in his foot. And it’s even more encouraging that the pair look set to head into the postseason without any restrictions.
Speaking pregame before Game 1 against the Grizzlies in the opening round, head coach Darvin Ham said neither LeBron nor AD would head into the playoffs with any sort of restrictions.
Darvin Ham on if there are any restrictions on LeBron and AD workload-wise in the playoffs: “I love being alive, so there will be zero restrictions on LeBron and AD.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) April 16, 2023
Having five days off since their last game certainly helped the pair and the team as a whole get healthy. The Lakers played eight games in the 14 days, culminating in their win over the Timberwolves in the play-in. The five-day break from that play-in win and Sunday’s series opener was sorely needed for the team, which Ham also talked about before the game.
Darvin Ham on what the rest days meant to the Lakers, with a few notes on the possible negatives, as well.— SportsEthos Los Angeles Lakers Coverage (@EthosLakers) April 16, 2023
Video from @NBADWill21 on site in Memphis! pic.twitter.com/gc78shsAJ5
It doesn’t necessarily mean either is fully healthy. Davis has nursed his foot injury since going down in December, though he’s stated he’s healthy and him sitting out was just precautionary in the final months of the season. LeBron, meanwhile, has stated he may yet need surgery after the season on his foot injury.
The important part, though, is that both players are ready to give it all they do have this series and for the playoffs moving forward, which has typically spelled bad news for opponents over the course of a series.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.