The Los Angeles Lakers are facing a pivotal Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns, and it looks like it will be without one of their stars in Anthony Davis. Can Phoenix take advantage? You’ll have to wait and see as you catch this game live at 10 AM on Wednesday, June 2 (Manila time).
HOME TEAM: Phoenix Suns (2-2, 1-1 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: DeAndre Ayton
The Suns are going to be happy that Chris Paul looks like he’s recovering from the shoulder injury after he posted up 18 points, three rebounds, nine assists and three steals while shooting 7 of 15 from the field (0 of 3 from beyond the arc) in Game 4. Paul was laboring to get through Games 2 and 3 and his presence on the court changes things drastically for the Phoenix.
Devin Booker, on the other hand, has been struggling with his offense over the last two games. He had 34 points in the series opener and then followed that up with 31 in the next game, but over the last two has only scored 19 and 17 points. The Lakers defense has really focused on him, but if his backcourt teammate Paul can cause more havoc with a healthier shoulder in Game 5, the floor will open up for him. To win, Phoenix needs him to be aggressive and do what he does best: get buckets.
The brightest spot for the Suns is still DeAndre Ayton, who has been extremely consistent while averaging 19.8 PPG and 13.5 RPG throughout the series. He grabbed 17 boards in Game 4 and with one less foe to worry about in Anthony Davis, he should look to maintain his aggression in the paint on both ends. His ability to prevent second-chance points with his rebounding will be important in what should be a grindy game against the Lakers.
The Suns had six players score in double figures in Game 4 and they’ll want to continue sharing the scoring load, especially if the Lakers keep Booker in check.
The Suns are 22-11 ATS as a home favorite, and are 27-23-2 ATS when coming off a victory.
ROAD TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (2-2, 1-1 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Dennis Schroder
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell Pope
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Montrezl Harrell / Markieff Morris
- C: Andre Drummond
Anthony Davis’ groin injury is yet another setback in the Lakers’ quest for a repeat. In their two wins in Games 2 and 3, Davis was the best player on the floor and averaged 34 PPG and 10.5 RPG in those contests.
The pressure now falls on LeBron James, who is still playing great and averaging 21.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 8.5 APG in the series. However, he’ll need a lot of help from his teammates to cover for AD’s points and rebounds.
Dennis Schroder will need to step it up in Game 5, as he averaged 22 PPG in the LA’s two series victories but then shot 3 of 13 from the field and scored eight points in Game 4. They’ll be calling more on Andre Drummond as well, because his 10.5 RPG over the series is going to be vital as he battles Ayton at the rim.
The Lakers are designed to win with both a healthy LeBron and AD, and it remains to be seen how they make up for the latter’s missing production.
The Lakers are 6-9 ATS as a road underdog and 17-13-1 ATS after a loss.
Spread: I think the Suns play with enough urgency against the Davis-less Lakers to win and cover the -5 spread.
Over/Under: The game will be a grind, but I think the over 207 hits.