Los Angeles Lakers 109, Phoenix Suns 95: Final. On Thursday night at Staples Center, Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series with a 109-95 victory.
Insights that are worth remembering from the match are included below.
1: Despite an Early Injury Scare, Anthony Davis has Continued to Dominate the Court.
After a chase-down block on Devin Booker with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter, Davis displayed instant pain in his left leg. Davis did not quit the game, although he limped and frequently pulled on his knee. Then after the first half concluded, Davis went slowly and was the last person off the court.
It looked like he would have to sit down or have very few options. However, neither of those things transpired.
Davis, though, did not sit out the second half and instead led all scorers with 16 points in the third. The majority of Davis’s team-high 34 points came in the third. Davis was not always at ease with his position of supremacy.
After LeBron James set Davis up for a slam, he winced afterwards. Davis then paced around the Lakers’ bench during the subsequent break, eventually bending his knees. Davis still stayed on the court, but had some more embarrassing moments.
Davis could not connect on another James lob and tumbled while pursuing the pass. To prevent the fragile china from shattering, Davis’ benchwarmers jumped up and scooped him up. James sent the ball to Davis for another slam attempt, but Davis’s shot rimmed out.
Nonetheless, Davis converted on a hook shot, surged past Suns centre Deandre Ayton for a reverse layup and had a solid post presence.
Therefore, the Lakers may be concerned about Davis’s current state of health. However, the fact that Davis managed to play despite his injury is encouraging.
2: Another Team Member is Hurt and the Lakers need to keep an Eye on the Situation
After sustaining a left quad contusion, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was benched for the fourth quarter by the Lakers. It’s conceivable that Dennis Schroder, Davis, and James aren’t at 100% health.
The Lakers’ success will mostly rest on James and Davis, clearly. However, Caldwell-3-point Pope’s shooting makes him a significant asset for the Lakers. It may be difficult for a squad with such a history of inconsistency to find a suitable replacement for KCP.
3: The First half was a Nightmare to Watch.
Nearly 7,500 fans saw the Lakers play in front of a home crowd in the playoffs for the first time since April 28, 2013. However, the Lakers’ previous home playoff game was a disgrace.
The Lakers’ unravelling against the San Antonio Spurs began in Game 4, as the Spurs went on to sweep the series. While Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and other key players sat out with injury, Dwight Howard was expelled and ultimately left the team in free agency that summer.
Currently’s Lakers squad is lightyears ahead of that one. The first half, however, was reminiscent of terrible basketball from the 1990s. Both the Lakers (3 of 16) and the Suns (4 of 13) struggled mightily from long range.
4: Jae Crowder was not Well-Liked by Laker Faithful.
Shortly after the game started, Laker fans screamed abuses towards Crowder. Fan conduct thankfully did not resemble the Russell Westbrook popcorn incident, the Trae Young spitting debacle, or the Ja Morant family threats. The atmosphere was generally cordial.
So whence did this scorn originate? Crowder may have been associated with the Lakers because his former team, the Miami Heat, faced them in the NBA Finals last year.
Another possible reason is because Crowder approved of a tweet claiming that Davis’ championship ring was a forgery. As if that wasn’t enough, Davis was penalised for a foul on a potential game-winning 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the third game, which angered Lakers fans.
After Booker was ejected with 35.4 seconds remaining for a flagrant-2 foul committed on Schroder in the act of driving to the basket, tensions rose when Booker began arguing with Davis and Schroder.
In any case, Lakers supporters yelled their jeers and heckles whenever Crowder performed poorly. Crowder scored five points despite shooting poorly (one field goal in eight attempts, zero three-pointers in six attempts).
Near the midway point of the fourth quarter, when James drew an offensive foul by taking a charge at halfcourt on Crowder, those Lakers supporters cheered again.