It was shaping up to be 48 completely forgettable minutes of basketball between the Lakers and the Knicks Tuesday until one of the league's best squads lost one of its best players. And it looks like he's going to be out for at least the next few games.
During a terrible January basketball evening in which New York looked like it didn't want to be here, the biggest news to come out of the 117-87 trouncing leveled by the Lakers on the Knicks at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles was the expected—as of late Tuesday night—loss of Anthony Davis for at least the next two games.
Davis went down hard trying to defend a Julius Randle shot near the rim in the third quarter. Landing awkwardly, the injury to Davis's tailbone had him writhing in pain underneath the basket as teammates and Lakers fans held their breath.
"He's one of our pillars," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. "He's our present, he's our future. He's one of the best players in the world. He obviously means a lot."
The star forward eventually walked gingerly back to the locker room after spending several minutes on the hardwood surrounded by teammates and medical personnel. He did not return to the game, finishing with just 5 points in 31 minutes. He left the arena early and did not speak to the media after the game.
"We hope that he'll be fine, which we believe he'll be fine," LeBron James said. "If it causes AD to miss any time, the next man up has to be even better."
That's obviously impossible, which LeBron immediately acknowledged after saying that. Davis has been playing at an MVP-caliber level for the Lakers (30-7) and his loss—with games coming up against the Mavericks and Thunder on the road—will be felt if he indeed ends up missing them, as ESPN initially reported.
The injury was the only noteworthy thing we saw on the court from a game that was a complete bore. The Knicks never threatened and looked disinterested. Sure there were a pair of flagrant fouls committed by New York in the second and third quarters that stirred up the crowd of 18,997. But other than those two moments and AD going down, this game was the epitome of a "dog days of the NBA" kind of contest where the bad team—playing the third game of a four-game west coast swing—played like it can't wait to return home while the better squad took care of business. Here are six other observations from LA.