The Los Angeles Lakers are a loss away from joining fellow 2020 NBA finalists, the Miami Heat, in Cancun. Will LeBron James and the Lakers force a Game 7? Or, will the Phoenix Suns take down the defending champions in six games?
Catch this game live on Friday, June 4, at 10:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (2-3, 1-1 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Dennis Schroder
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (GTD)
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Anthony Davis (GTD)
- C: Andre Drummond
Perhaps the most important thing to know about the Lakers heading into Game 6 is that LeBron James has never struck out of the first round of the playoffs. We’re about to see whether that clean record will continue to hold for King James Friday, as the Lakers take on Phoenix in an elimination game for the defending champions.
However, the Lakers likely have to fight for their survival without Anthony Davis. The big man is dealing with a hurting groin and is currently considered a game-time decision. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is another GTD player for the Lakers, but it’s Davis’ status that matters the most for the Lakers, who shot just 34.5% from the field in Game 5 and got outscored in the paint by Phoenix, 44-32.
But even if AD doesn’t play, the Lakers would be in a greater position to force a Game 7 if Dennis Schroder plays as though he’s worth every penny of the $84 million offer he reportedly rejected back in February. Schroder went 0-9 and finished with a giant goose egg in Game 5. At the end of the day, it will be all on the shoulders of LeBron. The four-time MVP is averaging 22.2 points, 8.2 assists, and 6.8 rebounds in the series.
The Lakers are 4-1 against the spread after a loss.
ROAD TEAM: Phoenix Suns (3-2, 1-1 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: Deandre Ayton
The Suns will be looking to bring the pain in Game 6. Eliminating the Lakers at STAPLES Center is a dream of many teams, and Chris Paul and company have a golden chance to do it this Friday. Paul doesn’t seem to be back to his 100% form, but the Suns are thriving in part because Cameron Payne has come out of nowhere to surprise the Lakers.
Payne, who scored 16 points in Game 5, has become the Suns’ third-highest scorer in the series. He is averaging 13.6 points in the playoffs, way above his regular-season average of 8.4 points. Devin Booker, meanwhile, hopes he could defy his relatively frustrating numbers in the playoffs when playing on the road. Booker is shooting just 33.3 FG% on the road so far in the first round.
At home, he’s making 50% of his shots. In any case, the Suns will look forward to Booker producing alongside Deandre Ayton, especially if Davis gets ruled out. Ayton is flexing in this series, as he’s averaging 17.0 points on an incredible 85.2 FG%.
The Suns are 3-1-1 against the spread in their last five games after a win.
Spread: Will LeBron James get the support he needs? Carrying a team is now a much more difficult task for a player who’s closer to 40 than 30. With or without Davis, the Suns will get the win and cover +2.
Over/Under: The Under has been making a killing in this series, but the opening totals line for Game 6 is the lowest for this matchup, thus far. Take the Over 208.0.