LeBron James assured the public that the twisted ankle he suffered in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ Game 2 loss vs. the Denver Nuggets will not keep him out of a must-win Game 3 on Saturday at Crypto.com Arena.
“They’re still there,” he said about his ankles. “A little ankle isn’t going to stop me. … I’ll be ready on Sunday. I just stepped on the foot of AG. Nothing is keeping me from playing … I'll be fine.”
In fact, LeBron inadvertently landed on Anthony Davis, not Aaron Gordon. He lingered on the floor for a possession and stayed in the game.
LeBron James says he'll be ready to play in Lakers-Nuggets Game 3 on Sunday.
Here's where James landed on Anthony Davis' foot late in Game 2.pic.twitter.com/JHeB9QUL4D
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 19, 2023
LeBron missed four weeks (13 games) from late February into mid-March due to a torn tendon in his right foot, which he's hinted will require offseason surgery. Prior to that, he had been listed on the Lakers' injury report with left ankle/foot soreness for several weeks.
In general, LeBron — who acknowledged the altitude factor before Game 1 — did not look particularly spry in the Lakers' 108-103 loss. He finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists, and 4 steals in 40 minutes, and admirably competed on defense (he switched onto Nikola Jokic for much of the second half), yet Father Time won this round at Ball Arena. James missed all six of his three-pointers (he's 0-for-10 this series) and never controlled the action, as he so often does.
In a profoundly human moment, the 38-year-old attempted his signature double-clutch reverse dunk on a breakaway, only for the ball to slip out of his hands. He also lost his dribble on a handful of occasions and missed a key layup in the final minute.
Father time is undefeated. LeBron James misses a wide open lay up. I'm sad 😭 pic.twitter.com/OsMCsxLMJd
— Per Sources (@PerSources) May 19, 2023
Both teams were visibly gassed down the stretch, but neither head coach wanted to call a timeout to allow the opponent to make subs.
“If you're not tired in the postseason — everybody's tired,” LeBron said, cutting off a question about fatigue directed at Anthony Davis.
The Lakers got quality showings from Austin Reaves (22 points) and Rui Hachimura (21 points), but they'll need an uptick in offensive production from LeBron, AD (4-for-15 shooting), and D'Angelo Russell (10 points) in order to claw back into the series.