Los Angeles Lakers star forward Anthony Davis has confirmed his foot injury isn’t as bad as first feared, and promised to be back on the court on Sunday for Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
The Lakers missed their chance to wrap up their 17th franchise title on Friday night after a thrilling game against the Miami Heat.
Davis and co knew one more victory would win them the series, having gone into Game 5 with a 3-1 lead.
However, Miami started the game strong and didn’t let up, with Jimmy Butler putting in a career-defining performance.
Butler played 47 minutes in the Heat’s gruelling win, putting up 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
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The Heat were helped by their strength in depth, with Duncan Robinson contributing 26 points, Kendrick Nunn 14, Bam Adebayo 13 and Tyler Herro 12.
For the Lakers, however, their supporting cast failed to give Davis and LeBron James the same level of support, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the only player other than Davis and James to record over ten points.
Much of the game was dominated by James and Butler’s back-and-forth battle, with ‘The King’ putting up 40 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.
The Lakers took the lead at numerous points throughout the game, but were at a disadvantage at times due to an injury sustained by Davis.
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The forward has been suffering with a heel injury recently, and aggravated it in the first quarter of Friday’s potential elimination game.
Davis appeared to go down after colliding with Andre Iguodala, and was in severe discomfort as he hobbled before coming out of the game.
He returned to the court, but was then seen limping down the court again as the Lakers battled to regain control of the game in the fourth quarter.
His injury sparked fears that he could miss Sunday’s pivotal Game 6 of the series, though Davis reassured fans he would be back in time.
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He told his post-game press conference: “Iggy stood on it, aggravated it,” when talking about what happened to lead to the injury.
“But I’ll be fine on Sunday.”
The Lakers had a perfect chance to win the game in the closing seconds, as James drove to the basket before kicking the ball out to Danny Green on the top of the key.
The guard had oceans of space to make the three, and with nine seconds remaining it seemed he would win the Lakers their 17th championship.
But Green’s shot fell short of the basket and was collected by Markieff Morris, who attempted to find Davis at the rim, only for his pass to sail out of bounds.
The Heat were able to see out the remaining seconds of the game to force Game 6 on Sunday.
Speaking afterwards, James refused to put the blame solely on Green, and remained calm over the Lakers’ chances of getting the job done.
“I’ve always played the game the same way since I was a kid, I’ve had success doing it, and I won’t let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game or how I play the game.
“If you look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free-throw line, find one of our shooters on the top of the key for a wide-open three to win a championship.
“I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go. We live with that.
“It’s one of the best shots we could have got in that fourth quarter. I had two guys on me, Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler, and Danny had a hell of a look, it just didn’t go down.
“I know he wish he could have it again, I wish I could have [made] a better pass, but you live with it.”
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