Coming off a convincing win over the New Orleans Pelicans thanks to a franchise record 15 threes in a half, Anthony Davis was shut down by the Los Angeles Lakers medical staff for the following game in Houston. Facing a Rockets team holding the worst record in the league, a win for the purple and gold would have meant reaching .500 for the first time this season and tying the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks for the seventh spot in the Western Conference, one game behind the sixth-place Golden State Warriors.
A must-win game for the Lakers, but not a sure-bet one. Deprived of his two stars, Darvin Ham’s team faced the same Houston Rockets that two nights earlier had taken the Boston Celtics off guard in an unexpected win. Not surprisingly, the outcome was the same for the Lakers.
From the scenario of getting one step closer to consolidating themselves in the playoff picture and avoiding the play-in, the upsetting loss plunged the Lakers back to the tenth seed, haunted again by the one-win-distant Pelicans and Utah Jazz.
The Lakers sitting Anthony Davis against the Rockets was a mistake.
Given the premises, opting to sit a healthy and pain-free AD for caution reasons was not definitely a great idea. Obviously, Davis has just returned from a stress reaction in his foot and his tendency to get injured is well-documented. He is arguably one of the most injury-prone players in the league. There is no denying that.
Yet, with 13 games left on the schedule and the other star on the team already out, your season is on the line. Every game counts and every win makes a difference. This is more than a good reason to step on the floor and take the risk of getting injured. Especially if the player is basically healthy.
Unfortunately, the upcoming Dallas game will not be a sure win as well, even with Anthony Davis, as the opposing Mavericks, will seemingly have Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving back in uniform.
Apparently, this decision was not on Anthony, who wanted to play in Houston, but on the organization.
Rob Pelinka deserves a lot of credit for the great team he miraculously put together at the trade deadline, turning over the roster in a matter of hours, but the move to rest AD in such a moment raises some questions on the decision process of the organization.
Why rest your best player if it jeopardizes the season? What is the point of having him on the team and paying him millions of dollars, I wonder, if you are not willing to deploy him when he is most needed? If the Lakers do not reach the playoffs they will have saved Davis for nothing.
Nothing is set. Despite their great improvement, a playoff spot is not guaranteed for LA. Every win counts and in the near future, the Lakers might look back and regret wasting this opportunity.