The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 5 of a riveting series between Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers.
12:00 (AEST), Wed 2nd Jun @ Phoenix Suns Arena
History: Played 321: Lakers 186 V Suns 135
Last meeting: May 31, 2021 (Game 4): Suns 100 d Lakers 92 at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers are piecing together arguably the most fascinating First Round series of the 2021 NBA Playoffs – and after four games, it’s very unclear which way it will ultimately unfold.
The second-seeded Suns and seventh-seeded, LeBron- and AD-led Lakers are locked at 2-all as the series heads back to Phoenix.
The Suns took out the opener 99-90. Devin Booker (34 pts, 7 reb, 8 ast) and Deandre Ayton (21 pts, 16 reb) starred, but it was gritty all-round performance from the second-seeded Suns. The Lakers’ poor shooting from the free-throw line and behind the arc was telling.
But the Lakers struck back 109-102 in what they saw as a must-win Game 2 clash. The visitors led wire to wire and didn’t lose a quarter, with Anthony Davis (34 pts, 10 reb, 7 ast) dominant and LeBron James (23 pts, 9 ast) not far behind.
The series headed to Los Angeles, and AD (34 pts, 11 reb) and Lebron (21 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast) spearheaded a 109-95 Lakers victory. Suns talisman Chris Paul, hampered by a shoulder injury suffered in Game 1, made it three straight games with 7 points or less.
Series turned on its head as CP3 strikes back, AD breaks down
But the Suns responded magnificently in Game 4, grabbing a 100-92 victory at Staples Center. CP3, who convinced his coach not to sit him for the key clash, was the catalyst with 18 points and 9 rebounds. But Ayton (14 pts, 17 reb) and Booker (17 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast) were integral, too.
James (25 pts, 12 reb, 6 ast) was the only Laker to score more than 12 points. Meanwhile, Davis suffered a groin strain and is unlikely to line up in Game 5. Kyle Kuzma looms as the likely starting line-up replacement.
That places a massive load on LeBron’s broad shoulders. Paul’s return to health and form is also a major hurdle for the Lakers to overcome in Phoenix. The Suns are installed as $1.48 favourites and look a good bet to reclaim the series lead.
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