After a lengthy injury absence, Anthony Davis will return for the Los Angeles Lakers on April 1.
Davis has been out since Feb. 16 with a right foot injury. There was no timetable for his return for quite some time but the Lakers always told reporters that they targeted Friday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis to return.
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Speaking with reporters before Los Angeles faced off against New Orleans on Friday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel informed reporters about the update to Davis’ status:
Frank Vogel says Anthony Davis will make his return tonight, as anticipated. LeBron James’ status is still undetermined. “A true gametime decision,” Vogel said.
Entering Friday’s matchup with the Pelicans, the Lakers are tied in the Western Conference standings with the San Antonio Spurs at 31-45. The Spurs, however, hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers.
The Lakers are fighting to make the NBA Play-in Tournament and Davis should give them an immediate boost. Although he’s missed the majority of the season and is returning from an injury, Davis is a huge step up from the other big men the Lakers have had to give heavy minutes to during his absence.
Remember, when Davis is locked in, he’s a true superstar talent, a dynamic presence that can dominate a game on both ends of the court. It remains to be seen if Davis can quickly return to superstar status just like that. But on paper, his return should dramatically help the Lakers in their fight to make the Play-In Tournament.
As of March 31, the Lakers have a two percent chance of making the NBA Playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections.
They have a 44 percent chance of making the Western Conference Play-In Tournament, according to The Ringer’s Odds Machine.
Head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker. If teams split the season series, the next tiebreaker is a higher winning percentage within the division if teams share a division. If they do not share a division, the tiebreaker is the winning percentage in conference games.
Here is how the Lakers have fared against teams in the Play-In race:
The Lakers face the third-toughest remaining schedule of any NBA team, according to Tankathon. For comparison of the two teams surrounding them in the standings, the Pelicans have the seventh-easiest remaining schedule, while the Spurs have the fourth-hardest remaining schedule.
The Pelicans’ toughest remaining games are matchups with the Grizzlies and Warriors, while they still have one game looming against the Lakers.
The Spurs have more than a few tough games remaining, facing off against the Warriors, Mavericks, Nuggets and Timberwolves – all teams that currently have a top-six spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.
He is the Lakers’ remaining schedule: