Stadium: Staples Center. (Los Angeles)
Game 3. Series score 1-1
The Los Angeles Lakers expectedly won game two in Phoenix after the first scouting game. So the Lakers approach the games at Staples Center with a comfortable 1-1 lead in the series. The Suns have nowhere to go - they need to take one game out of two in California. The truth is, I don't believe that's true.
The Lakers took their opponent apart and now they're going to crush him
In the last playoffs, which proved to be a winning one for the Lakers, the Californians also started their first-round series with losses. But then both Portland and Houston were beaten four times in a row. As if Phoenix would not repeat the fate of last year's Los Angeles Lakers opponents.
In the second game, the Lakes added where they weren't quite as good in the first game. Montrezl Harrell was placed on reserve and never came to the court. The backup spot was given to Marc Gasol this time. The experienced Spaniard had the expected effect on the young DeAndre Ayton. Gasol tested him a few times from the perimeter with 2 threes from 4, 6 points and 2 assists; and a lot more space in the paint for Anthony Davis, who scored 34 points, 18 of them from the free throw line.
In addition, the Suns' most dangerous back-court defense, though weakened by limited minutes from Chris Paul, was brilliantly handled by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schröder, +19 and +16 assists, with Booker and Bridges -16 and -13. Schröder also played an important role on offense with 24 points. And, of course, LeBron, who wouldn't be without him? James played 3 more minutes than he did in Game 1, made 9 assists, scored 23 points, and as usual played an important role in the end, which the Lakers took away with more than confidence.
Only Chris Paul can save Phoenix
Chris Paul's injury in game one was a huge disappointment for the Suns. He appeared on the court in game two but only played 22 minutes due to shoulder discomfort. Even though the veteran was on the court in the most important minutes of the game, that's obviously not enough for the Suns - they're too dependent on their leader.
Devin Booker scored 31 points, but failed miserably on defense. Eaton was rolled up by Gasol and Anthony Davis - the center had 22 points, but not nearly the efficiency he had in game one. Mikal Bridges, usually the second offensive option, scored only 6 points and couldn't prove himself on defense either. Only Cameron Payne, whose shot attempts helped Phoenix get back into the game in the fourth quarter - a total of 19 points.
Payne didn't pull it off alone, of course. Against the league's best defense, and that's how the Lakers' defense is officially described, you need out-of-the-box solutions. And only Chris Paul can provide them. The Suns can only take this series with their offense, so if the team's leader never fully returns to the floor, Phoenix can take a bullet - the playoffs are over for them.
Expert Betting Tips
Frank Vogel and LeBron James not only spent the first game researching their opponent, they also looked closer to Phoenix in the second game. Los Angeles Lakers had as many as 12 players on the court in Game 2 of the series. Horton-Tucker, Matthews, and Morris were tested and got less than 5 minutes. Nevertheless, the very fact that 12 players were used speaks volumes. The Lakers are confident in themselves, have tremendous room for rotation and tactical variation, and can afford to play with muscle while watching their first-round opponent in their two road games. Even so, the result is a sure-fire one. The Lakers will be very hard to stop again this season. I don't believe in Phoenix's prospects, at least at the end of the second game.
Prediction - The Lakers will take the third game of the series without much trouble, which will most likely be even more productive than the second game. The Suns will once again fail on defense and force the offense.
- Phoenix Suns To Win at odds about 3.44
- Total Over Points 211.5 for about 1.85