LeBron James can’t wait to play at STAPLES Center for the first time in the playoffs. But will the Phoenix Suns’ spoil the Los Angeles Lakers’ first playoff game at home this season?
Catch this game live on Friday, May 28, at 10 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (1-1, 1-1 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Dennis Schroder
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Anthony Davis
- C: Andre Drummond
Anthony Davis showed in Game 2 who the best big man is in this series. After a subpar performance in Game 1, AD hammered out 34 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists in Game 2’s 109-102 win.
There was just no way that he was going to allow Deandre Ayton to outplay him for the second game in a row. With Davis getting his rhythm back and the series headed to STAPLES Center, the Lakers have every reason to expect an even bigger showing from the big man. Speaking of bigs, Andre Drummond silenced his haters on Twitter with a productive output of 15 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2.
Every point scored by Drummond was a mere bonus, as his five offensive rebounds and seven on the defensive glass encapsulated his real value for this team. The Lakers need to win the rebounding battle against the Suns in order to curb Phoenix’s opportunities on offense.
Of course, LeBron James still matters, and after The King scored 23 points and dished out nine assists in Game 2, he’s all excited to finally play a playoff game in Hollywood, which is something the Lakers weren’t able to do in their championship run a season ago. The Lakers are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games against the Suns.
ROAD TEAM: Phoenix Suns (1-1, 0-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul (probable)
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: Deandre Ayton
The big item for Phoenix is the status of Chris Paul. The Point God’s shoulder is still not right, and it showed in Game 2 in which he scored just six points with five assists in 23 minutes.
Given the gravity of the situation, you can bet that Paul is going to suit up and play, though it’s hard to tell how close his effectiveness will be to 100%. On standby for the Suns is Cameron Payne, who willingly stepped up in Game 2 and produced 19 points, seven assists, a steal, and even two blocks in 33 minutes.
Payne’s not replacing Paul’s value, but he’s serviceable enough for the Suns to depend on whenever CP3 needs to rest. The good news for the Suns also is that both Ayton and Devin Booker are consistently putting up solid numbers.
In two games so far in the series, Booker is averaging 32.5 points, while Ayton is mustering 21.5 points on an incredible 87.5 FG% and 13.0 rebounds. The Suns are headed to Los Angeles with an 11-3 record against the spread in their last 14 games after suffering a defeat.
Chris Paul doesn’t look right and it’s hard to expect that Cameron Payne will play another fantastic game. The Lakers have the momentum entering their first playoff game at home this year. I’m taking the Lakers to cover (-7).
It’s going to be another low-scoring affair, relatively speaking, but the total should hit the Over (210.0)