Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
Sunday, March 21th, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at PHX Arena
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are going to be without Anthony Davis and LeBron James on the road against the Suns. It has now turned into a double-digit spread for the Suns as the Lakers will be without their top two players.
We’re not used to seeing LeBron James injured, but he has a high ankle sprain that will keep him out for a little bit. The Lakers haven’t been the best offense this season, to begin with, scoring just 113.1 points per 100 possessions. They have an effective field goal percentage of 54.9 percent and turn the ball over 15.1 percent of the time. Things are going to get a bit more challenging on the glass and getting to the line without Davis and James active.
The Lakers will call on Dennis Schroder to be the guy while James and Davis recover from their injuries. Schroder is averaging 14.8 points along with 4.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He could turn into a triple-double threat if the ball stays in his hands for most of the game. Other guys that will need to step up are Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, who both currently average double figures in points and average more than six rebounds per game.
While the Lakers aren’t exceptional on offense, they’ve been the best defense with James on the floor. Can they continue that dominant defense without him?
They’re allowing just 106.9 points per 100 possessions this season and are holding teams to a 52.2 percent effective field goal percentage. They’ll get their fair share of turnovers and still do well on the defensive glass, as well as limiting teams to get to the line.
We’ll have to see a couple of games from the Lakers without LeBron to see just how things are going to play out in the future. This could prove to many that LeBron is the true most valuable player.
The Suns, on the other hand, are 27-13 on the year and are slightly behind the Lakers in the standings in the West. This is a big game for Phoenix to catch the Lakers without their two star players.
The Suns are a terrific defense, holding teams to 109.5 points per 100 possessions and have allowed teams to have an effective field goal percentage of 52.7 percent. The Suns are also average at forcing turnovers, but they do a solid job on the defensive glass. That should stand out without James.
Devin Booker is averaging 25.1 points per game, while Chris Paul averages 16 points per game along with 8.7 assists. Whatever team Paul is on, they’re always winning. It’s not just a coincidence. He’s still playing at a high level and probably doesn’t get enough credit for his play. De’Andre Ayton averages a double-double with 14.2 points and 11 rebounds. That should hurt the Lakers on the glass in this one.
The Suns are scoring 116.5 points per 100 possessions and have a high effective field goal percentage of 57.1 percent. They’re taking high-quality shots, and while they’re not getting a high amount of offensive rebounds, things could change in this game, knowing Ayton is grabbing over three per game. The Suns are struggling to get to the line, however.
It might take some time for the Lakers’ offense to get moving. As a system, the Lakers still represent a problem on defense and should still play at a high level on that end.
It’s going to be hard for the Lakers to score points at a high rate, and they’re likely won’t be many second-chance opportunities on either side. We’ve got two of the top five defenses playing against each other. Therefore, I’ll take the under and hope that the Lakers struggle to score early without James.
CBB Pick: Under 214.5 (-110) at Bet365