HEALTH. It’s very important. It is the biggest factor in deciding the winner between the Lakers and Suns as they play game 5 in the Valley. With the series tied at two games apiece, each team is dealing with an injury to their star player that wears #3. Anthony Davis is unlikely to suit up, while it seems Chris Paul’s shoulder is really starting to heal.
With AD out of the lineup for the second half, L.A. could not close the door on game 4. They struggled on their home floor; the vastly improved shooting of Jae Crowder was too much for them to overcome. LeBron James logged 38 minutes but could not do enough to guide his team. Surprisingly as well, Montrezl Harrell logged five minutes, his first run since the series opener.
With CP3 not at 100% for a few games, the team took a pair of losses. If he couldn’t look to score and was just out there trying to pass and hold on to the ball, it would not be enough. His shoulder looks like it’s starting to heal. He scored 18 points to go with nine assists in the last contest, showing an ability to knock down jumpers. This series is far from over.
Odds: The spread, pending AD being cleared, is PHX -6. The over/under is set at 207 points.
Lakers Seek 3-2 Lead
LeBron James has never lost in the first round of the playoffs. Only once has a series he has partaken in gone to seven games, and it was during his last run with the Cavs. Indiana pushed them to the brink, but they held their hungry opponents off and wound up running all the way to the Finals. But, health is different now than it was then.
George Hill missed three games in that CLE-IND series. Anthony Davis might wear the same jersey number, but he carries so much more value. When he’s in, he deters guys from driving to the rim. He can block jump shots. And he gets key PHX guys into foul trouble. He is irreplaceable on so many levels.
If he’s out, along with KCP, then the team will need to win the 3-pt battle and dominate the glass.
#2 Suns Seek Critical Victory
All seemed done for Phoenix. They could not get it done in games 2 or 3 and looked to face a 3-1 series hole. AD gets hurt in game 4, and the team goes on a quick run to open the third quarter. From there, it was all smooth sailing, and they were able to hold off one final L.A. run.
A 100-92 final, they locked in and got the job done. Playoff scores can be low like that when you have two teams grinding hard on the defensive end of the court. While Denver and Portland continue to battle, these teams do, too.
Look for Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton to stay hot. If AD plays, the game plan has to be to shoot from the perimeter and play through Ayton inside. And if he’s out, attack the rim constantly. Nobody else can protect that paint.
Pending AD Status, PHX Wins
If Davis plays, the Lakers win. Operating under the assumption he is not, the pick here is for Phoenix. They cannot replace his value or production.
REE PLAY: PHX -6
OVER/UNDER: OVER 207
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