It wasn’t seen by many during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, but it could loom large for Game 6.
The strike has drawn comparisons to Draymond Green’s infamous groin punch in the 2016 NBA Finals, as well as J.R. Smith striking Crowder in the 2015 playoffs. Green received a one-game suspension for his punch while Smith was forced to miss two games.
Here is a better look at Anthony Davis hitting Jae Crowder in the face, and shown in comparison to Draymond's suspension-worthy crotch punch in 2016: pic.twitter.com/lYScUROVEY— Playoff Parakeet A. Cortes (@Ryan_Cortes) October 10, 2020
Obviously, there’s no perfect comparison for Davis striking Crowder when it comes to the actual act, intent and track record of the player, nor is there a way to know for sure what was going on in Davis’ mind when he swung his arm out in Crowder’s direction. Davis’ head does appear to turn toward Crowder before the strike, which could be significant.
Davis was already facing questions for Game 6 after re-aggravating a heel injury during Game 5, but he later said he would be ready to go on Sunday.
Davis is currently enjoying a monstrous run in his first playoffs with the Lakers, averaging 28.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 57.9 percent from the field.
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