Lakers’ playoff push without James is a true test for Davis
LeBron James is expected to be sidelined indefinitely, which means the Lakers playoff hopes rest on Anthony Davis.
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1. Lakers’ playoff push without James is a true test for Davis
Just as the new-look Lakers were starting to hit their groove with three straight wins and their biggest win of the season in Sunday in a 27-point comeback victory over the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James is expected to be sidelined indefinitely. The loss and the final 20 games of the season will be a true test for Anthony Davis, write The Sporting Tribune’s Ryan Ward.
Although the incredible 27-point comeback against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday was a massive step in the right direction, the Lakers have taken a step back with James on the mend again. Los Angeles can’t seem to shake the injury bug, with either Anthony Davis, LeBron James or other key players going down multiple times during the 2022-23 campaign. Fortunately, unlike the past few seasons, the Lakers may finally have the depth to hold them over until James returns. No, the team doesn’t have another superstar to shoulder the load, but collectively, this new-look squad might be able to get it done if a few things go their way.
2. The night Kobe Bryant refused to score 70 points
Damian Lillard scored 71 points on Sunday against the Houston Rockets, which means there have already been two 70-point games in the NBA in 2023. That reminded us that 17 years ago, Kobe Bryant refused to score 70 points in a game when everyone wanted him to.
Everyone on the Lakers wanted to Bryant to make history on December 20, 2005. Playing at home against a Dallas Mavericks team that would eventually be the Western Conference champions, Bryant played a few seconds short of 33 minutes and sat out the entire fourth quarter. After three quarters, Bryant had outscored the Mavericks by himself 62-61 in a game the Lakers dominated 95-61.
3. Three receivers Chargers should watch at NFL Combine
The Chargers offense could use a brand-new weapon. Could it be a receiver? If it is, The Sporting Tribune’s Fernando has three options the Chargers should consider heading into this week’s NFL Combine.
The NFL Combine starts this week in Indianapolis, with numerous college players trying to show NFL teams what they can contribute at the next level. The Chargers coaching staff will be in Indy scouting and speaking with all the talent. The Chargers are $20 million over the cap and will look to get down before free agency. One of the ways to get there is possibly cutting receiver Keenan Allen, which would save around $17.5 million, but it doesn’t seem like a Tom Telesco move.
4. Quack of Dawn: Ducks Report
No one covers the Anaheim Ducks like The Sporting Tribune’s Derek Lee, who provides the latest update on the Ducks with his regular “Quack of Dawn Ducks Report” from every morning skate and practice.
The Ducks are back home tonight after returning from a four-game road trip, one in which the latter half was much better than the former. After a tough overtime loss to the Florida Panthers and a 6-1 shellacking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim responded with a pair of resounding wins over the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes. They were buoyed by the return of Troy Terry––who scored in both games––and two excellent performances from John Gibson. Gibson recorded his third 50-save game of the season on Saturday against the Hurricanes and was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week .
5. Big week for Raiders at NFL Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine gets underway in Indianapolis and the Raiders have a critical week for evaluating their potential quarterback of the future. The Sporting Tribune’s Steve Carp has the latest on the Las Vegas Raiders.
One of the most critical junctures in the history of the Raiders franchise is upon us. The NFL Scouting Combine begins Monday as general manager Dave Ziegler, head coach Josh McDaniels, a bevy of team scouts and officials are in Indianapolis throughout the week to watch, evaluate, interview and grade what they hope will result in the organization’s selection of its quarterback of the future. Derek Carr is gone. Who knows who his replacement will be? Aaron Rodgers has emerged from his dark retreat but he has not given any indication of what his future plans are and if the Raiders are part of them. Tom Brady is still retired, at least for the moment. Jimmy Garoppolo could be in the mix I guess if the Silver and Black are seeking an experienced quarterback with a history of success along with a history of getting injured.
6. TST’s NBA Power Rankings Week 20
Are the Lakers serious title contenders, can the Clippers catch a break, and are Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets a lock to go to the West Finals? The Sporting Tribune’s Brandon Deutsch has you covered in his latest NBA Power Rankings.
The Lakers have gone 4-1 since the trade deadline and have proven a lot of haters wrong in the process. The Pelicans had won four out of their last five games before coming into town before the All-Star break. The Lakers absolutely pummeled them to go into the break on a high note, and then they returned from the break with a dismantling over the Stephen Curry-less Warriors last Thursday night. However, the most impressive win was their statement win in Dallas against the Mavericks on Sunday. At one point they were down 27 points and this season NBA teams were 0-138 when trailing by 27+ points in a game. Now that number is 1-138 as the Lakers dominated on both ends of the floor in the second half (especially defensively) to silence Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
9. On the Air presented by Coca-Cola
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today:
4:30 p.m. – Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies – Spectrum SportsNet, TNT
5 p.m. – Los Angeles Kings at Winnipeg Jets – Bally Sports West
4 p.m. – Minnesota Timberwolves at LA Clippers – Bally Sports SoCal, TNT
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
On Monday’s show, the crew talked about the Lakers winning three straight games and coming back from 27 points down to beat the Dallas Mavericks on the road. Is it time be excited about the Lakers again?
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Fan in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!