The Phoenix Suns are not served in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, but one should not be surprised if they get “upset”.
Phoenix Sun Los Angeles may have been 2-seeded in their first-round matchup against the Lakers, but very few had the guts to pick them in the seven-match series against the Defending Lakers. nba the champion
He didn’t have playoff experience. They didn’t have LeBron James or Anthony Davis. They were a pretty good regular-season team, but they probably didn’t make it to the post-season. The fact that they were the first underdog 2-seed in the NBA playoffs in more than 30 years spoke to that fact. Every series prediction felt like a pat on the back for a “fun team” that “had a great year”, but many experts didn’t take them seriously compared to the basketball and narrative juggernaut that is the Lakers. .
The work still isn’t complete, and those who aren’t paying attention will point to the absence of Anthony Davis as why we’ve gotten to this point. But the Sun is now on the verge of being a “trouble” and shouldn’t really surprise anyone.
On Tuesday night, the Suns wiped out Los Angeles in Route 115–85. In just three quarters, Devin Booker dropped 30 points for the third time in the series, including a franchise playoff-record 18 points in the first quarter.
“Watching Book by Book was exciting for us,” said Chris Paul. “Tonight we’ve seen him throughout the season and he was taking the shot we want him to shoot. Even in the last four games, I was at him, ‘Shoot more.’ There really isn’t a bad shot he could take, and he just made the right plays.”
Booker hadn’t shot the ball well since Game 1, but ended Tuesday in a 13-for-23 and feasted on the Lakers’ defense, with Davis not patrolling the paint. When Phoenix needed him to bounce back, he responded.
“That’s the game I play for this type of environment and these kinds of games,” Booker said. “This is my first experience in the playoffs, and the mindset of the next game is the most important of my career, it’s a fun thing for me to play with.”
However, it wasn’t just the book fueling that turned out to be a 30-point blowout. The Suns’ defense was in trouble once again, reducing the Lakers to just 2 points in the eight-minute gap between the first and second quarters, where the home team scored 24-2 to open the game wide.
In the process, Phoenix limited LeBron James to 7 first-half points and built up a 30-point halftime lead – the biggest in franchise postseason history.
“I think our whole team defense helped our offense,” said head coach Monty Williams. “To be able to get stops and execute the game plan the way we played as a force allowed our offense to play in flux. We didn’t call for a lot of plays, if any, in the first quarter. We were able to just get out and run and Buk was hitting the shot, and when he’s making it past every level, it can be hard to stop.
Between Booker’s first-quarter barrage, defense lock down, Cam Payne sliced and diced the Lakers’ No. 1 defense, and the Suns’ shooters stepped up early, Game 5 was over by halftime. It was absolute dominance in front of a packed PHX Arena, pushing the defending champion to the brink and sending a very clear message.
“I mean, we’re all locked up now,” Jay Crowder said. “If you’re not closed now, you pass out like a sore thumb. Everyone is closed mentally, physically.”
It’s Time to Stop Sleeping on the Phoenix Suns
On the one hand, the Sons did what they needed to do during this one-sided result: they won at home, where the teams expected to win in the playoffs, against the Los Angeles team that was playing without Anthony Davis, who played the game. Missed the second half as well. Game 4 Due to strain in his groin. There’s no doubt that AD’s absence deprived the Lakers of a significant two-pronged presence in the series; He closes the lane with his long arms and impressive instincts on the defensive end, while also posing intense matchup problems for the Suns’ short frontcourt on offense.
But the equation here isn’t as simple as “Lakers Minus Davis Equals Sons Win.” This would ignore the larger context, such as how the Phoenix achieved the halftime lead over LA in Game 4. before this Davis got hurt, or how Chris Paul was a shell of himself from the second quarter of Game 1 to the second quarter of Game 4. ours Hurt, or how the Sun has generally been completely overlooked in title contender conversation.
In other words, being sidelined clearly made the Sons’ job easier in Game 5, with injuries to either the best or second best player on each team plagued both sides, and when both teams is Having been completely healthy this series, Phoenix is looking just as good, if not better, than the defending champ.
To move to a close game on the road, there is still work to be done. The LeBron James Heymaker whom many expected on Tuesday could still come in Game 6, especially for a man who is at an all-time 14-0 first-round series lead. Maybe the Lakers’ shooters will randomly catch fire, despite all the evidence from the regular season and vice versa in these first five playoff games. Maybe Davis would be good enough to go and be really effective. The Lakers could have won Game 6, and in Game 7 — even in Phoenix — it’s hard to pick up against a team led by LeBron. The series is by no means over, and it wouldn’t be shocking if LA finds a way to flip the script.
But it should be just as surprising, if the Sons take care of business and send the Lakers packing in the first round, and if it does, it won’t be just because L.A. was bumped. The Phoenix deserves more credit than just being a good team that caught the Lakers at the opportune time, which is already being spun.
This Lakers squad doesn’t see the act, but James’ 22.8 points per game—the second-lowest scoring average of any playoff series in his Hall-of-Fame career—isn’t just a byproduct of ankle injuries; Phoenix has done a legitimately solid job on that with Mikael Bridges, Jay Crowder, and Torrey Craig. LeBron has the highest scoring average in NBA history in potential elimination games, so the Suns still have their job done for him in Game 6, but Davis is battling an injury that’s easy to recur and the Suns. K.’s defensive strategy is actively calling for a 2013 Game 6 of LeBron-type performance to prevent an “upset” here, due to LA’s poor shooting.
Chris Paul resurfaced his shoulder injury in an attempt to dismiss Wesley Matthews on Tuesday, the Sons’ own injury contingency to deal with.
“I don’t want to give an official update on that until I have more information, I just don’t have anything,” Williams said. “But when I spoke to him when he came back he said he still had strength. He seems to be fine, but we want to wait until tomorrow after he wakes up, and then our medical team can assess. “
Paul described his shoulder as a “little bang” but said he was fine before proceeding with his recovery process in Thursday’s game.
“I’m having treatment all day every day, trying to do whatever I can to get out there and help us,” he said. “The biggest thing right now is Game 6. If we can get Game 6, that’s going to be huge, because the rest — I can use it.”
Paul was honest about the benefits of having extra time to recover if the Suns manage to end the series in LA, but he’s certainly not overlooking anyone, and the Lakers team in particular. No. Williams, Paul and Jay Crowder were all on the same page when asked about their message to the young people of Phoenix who were going down the road to a potential elimination game.
“Just wrap our heads around this will be the toughest game of the series,” Crowder said. “Obviously we’re on the road so we have to stick together, especially when they go on a run and the crowd gets into it. We just have to stick together and collectively have a little bit of a storm to come out of the top.” have to give.”
Williams said that Sons would draw on not only the experiences of Paul and Crowder, but also their own and assistant coach Willie Greene’s as former players.
“We understand who we are playing against,” Williams said. “They’re the defending champions, we’re going back in their place. When we go back there we have to be solid. Closeout games are really tough, so our guys understand that.
“Whether it is a close game or Game 1, our job is to go out and play with force and defense and share the ball and not think about anything else but the next right thing. And you can’t get to a closeout game or a closeout moment until you take care of things first, and for us, it’s just getting ready tomorrow, when we start preparing for the next game.
“Doing the Next Right Thing” and “Couldn’t Be Happier on the Farm” are famous monty-isms that have become embedded in the Sun’s new culture. So it should come as no surprise that Booker, one of the team’s youngest cornerstones, takes up the task.
“Every game is a new experience and I think every game has its own characteristics in different ways, so completing every game is a new goal,” he said. “You have to have a short memory and move on to the next. And that’s what we did, and that’s how we’ve been able to get two in a row, but we know Game 6 isn’t going to be easy. We know that LA It will be tough in me, but we are ready for it.”
Defeating a team led by LeBron requires a mix of talent, depth, lunch-pale mentality, self-awareness and respect for your opponent. The Suns have that winning combination, and although there is still work to be done, no one should be surprised if the Lakers become the sixth team in NBA history to follow the championship with a first-round exit.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.