The Lakers need to win games before the playoffs approach. They’re running out of time. Can they upset the best team in the NBA, at home, against the Suns?
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Sunday, May 9, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center
The Lakers are reeling right now. But while LeBron James is out with an ankle injury, and Dennis Schroder also missing time, the Lakers have returned Anthony Davis. Los Angeles is hoping he can save this team through their final push for the playoffs.
It’s not going to be easy against the Suns.
At this point, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be a game time decision but it looks like everyone else will play for the Lakers against the Suns. At 37-30 on the season, they’re going to need to pile up wins to make the playoffs.
The Lakers have the 24th best points per 100 possessions in the league as they’re scoring 110.4 points per 100 possessions. The Lakers have an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent and turn the ball over 15.4 percent of the time, which is 28th in the league.
This team is average on the glass and gets to the foul line at a high rate of 19.7 percent, but without James holding the ball, that number has since dipped. The Lakers will be led by Anthony Davis, who is averaging 21.3 points per game and will likely need to average more points down the stretch.
Davis scored 36 points in the Lakers last game against the Blazers, with 12 rebounds and five assists and only three turnovers, but it wasn’t enough as Caruso and Caldwell-Pope were the only other big contributors in the point column.
Defensively, the Lakers are second in the league, allowing 107.9 points per 100 possessions. They’ve held opponents to 52.9 percent effective field goal percentage and force turnovers 15.3 percent of the time. The Lakers are better on the defensive glass and don’t send opponents to the foul line at a high rate.
The Suns, on the other hand, have 117.3 points per 100 possessions as a team and shoot an effective field goal percentage of 56.6 percent. On top of that, they’ve got a turnover percentage of 12.8 percent, which is really low, thanks to Chris Paul running the show.
This team doesn’t get to the line at a high rate and aren’t the best rebounders offensively but the high shooting percentage has been good enough. The Suns are led by Devin Booker who average 25.6 points per game. But this team has plenty of scoring options between Booker, Paul and DeAndre Ayton, who just scored 26 points in their win against the Knicks.
Phoenix has not just been good on offense. They’re dedicated on defense, which is why they’re 48-19 and don’t even have 20 losses on the season. They’re holding opponents to 111 points per 100 possessions and an effective field goal percentage of 53.6 percent. Teams are scoring just 107.4 points per game against the Suns while the Suns average 114.8 points per game on the season. That’s a huge margin for the Suns and another reason why they’re having a special season.
At this point, it’s basically the playoffs for the Lakers. They’ll need other guys to step up other than just Anthony Davis. This roster has enough talent to compete but they’re not nearly as complete as the Suns are. Either way, I like this game to be close. The Lakers should fight until the final buzzer and Davis will likely carry this team through the game. I’m not saying the Lakers win, but I’m saying that it’ll be close and I’d rather fade the public and take those points.
NBA pick: Lakers +7.5 (-110) at Bet 365