The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers gutted out a dramatic overtime win over the budding New York Knicks on Tuesday night at Staples Center, further cementing their position as the Western Conference's No. 7 seed with only three regular season games remaining.
But the injury bug has reared its ugly head once again. And quite frankly, the timing couldn't be more inconvenient.
Los Angeles' two best players, forwards Anthony Davis and LeBron James, are listed as questionable to play against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Davis, who missed nine weeks with a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg, suffered a groin injury late against the Knicks. And James, who recently returned to action after missing 20 games with a high right ankle sprain, has been dealing with soreness in the same ankle for the last week.
Although the All-Star duo managed to win an NBA title last summer, is James beginning to wonder whether the injury-prone Davis is his ideal running mate moving forward? And is it possible that the Lakers regret signing Davis to a contract extension?
Tiki and Tierney debated the topic during Wednesday's show.
"I think [LeBron] is set in Los Angeles, and it's just where his world is," Tiki said. "He won't resent [joining the Lakers and playing with Davis] because it's where he wanted to finish... I think in his mind, he knows that Anthony Davis is that way and that's why he has to be the way that he played last season. He made it easy for Anthony Davis. He was prolific from three-point range, he forced people to come to him. And so Anthony Davis wasn't working as hard, offensively. And symbiotically, they were good together.
"The second part of the question is, are the Lakers regretting the Anthony Davis extension? And my answer is also no to that. Because when LeBron hangs it up, L.A. knows that they need a star... If it's not Anthony Davis, who's it going to be?"
Tierney agrees with Tiki's thoughts on whether the Davis' extension has led to buyer's remorse. But he fears that the Lakers' run of success with James and Davis might not last much longer.
"Are they going to regret acquiring Anthony Davis? No, because they got the championship," Tierney said. "Could they possibly lament giving him the extension? You had to do it. I get it. But, when LeBron ages out... And it's coming. Couple of years ago, he missed half the season, pulled his groin. This year, he's missed 30 games, or whatever it is. I mean, he's getting hurt. We keep saying he's indestructible. Two of the last three years, he's missed a lot of time. It is what it is. And that's not going to suddenly correct itself, because he's getting older and he plays a lot.
"I think the 2022-23 season could be really ugly for the Lakers. Because they're never going to be bad enough with LeBron and AD to vie for a top-three, top-four lottery pick. Not going to happen for the next few years. But, with LeBron aging out, missing a lot of time, Davis missing a lot of time, the spark that I think a lot of people anticipated, I think it's going to be far less bright than some people even now surmise. There are darker days ahead for the Lakers that are far closer than people want to believe."
The entire Lakers conversation between Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.