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Lakers’ JaVale McGee leaves Game 2 vs. Rockets with ankle sprain

JaVale McGee, Lakers, Nets

Los Angeles Lakers big man JaVale McGee left Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets with an ankle sprain.

Per Dave McMenamin of ESPN, McGee is experiencing issues with his left ankle, causing him to leave the game for good. In eight minutes of action, he logged in two rebounds.

McGee, the Lakers’ designated starting center, averaged 6.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks across 16.6 minutes per game in the regular season. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 5.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks across 13.3 minutes.

He’s formed a critical part of the Lakers’ defense all season long. Together with Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis, they’ve fortified the Purple and Gold’s paint defense into one of the best in the league.

The past few years have been a rejuvenation of sorts for the 32-year-old center. Early in his career, he was mostly featured in “lowlights” for his seemingly wild and boneheaded plays. He even got into a mini-feud with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

But during his stint with the Golden State Warriors, McGee proved that can be an intrinsic part of an elite team. With the Warriors, won two titles and rightfully turned his career around.

His stellar play impressed paved the way for a contract with the Lakers. His championship experience, athleticism, and overall know-how have made him a valuable asset for a LeBron James-led squad gunning for a title.

The severity of McGee’s injury is still a matter-and-see. But there is no doubt that the Lakers are not the same team without McGee around.