Lakers vs. Suns: Game 2 betting odds, preview, and pick
The Los Angeles Lakers didn't look like defending champions on Sunday afternoon, as the upstart Phoenix Suns defeated them 99-90 in Game 1 of their first round series.
Here is our preview and pick for Game 2 on Tuesday night at 10:00 p.m. ET at Phoenix Suns Arena.
Wed, May 26 2021, 2:10 AM
Game 1 losses are familiar territory for LeBron
Losing in Game 1 of a playoff series is never the end of the world for a team. That is especially true to LeBron James' teams over his long career. This is his third consecutive playoff season that his team has lost the first game of the first round matchup. He went on to win Game 2 and eventually the series in each of the past two seasons.
In all playoff Game 1’s, James is 29-21 in his career. He has lost seven of his past 11 Game 1’s overall. However, he has only lost the series in two of those seven Game 1 losses. He has only lost eight series in all of his 21 Game 1 losses. He is 13-8 in Game 2 of those 21 series.
Baby Suns showed playoff poise
This may have been the playoff debut of many of the Suns' star players, but you never would have been able to tell from watching. Devin Booker had 34 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 16 rebounds on 10-11 shooting from the field. Mikal Bridges had 10 points and played 41 solid minutes with a plus/minus of +9. Cam Johnson scored 10 points and had six rebounds in 23 crucial minutes off the bench.
On the defensive end, the Suns combined to hold James and Anthony Davis to a combined 31 points on 11-29 shooting from the field. Chris Paul and Jae Crowder are the lone contributors for the Suns with significant playoff experience, but the young guns look like they can stand up with the best of the best when it comes to executing in the playoffs.
How hurt are the superstars?
Chris Paul had to leave Game 1 in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, but was able to return. Suns coach Monty Williams said on Monday that Paul is feeling much better, and he should be good to go for Game 2.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both out with injuries for months before the end of the regular season. They absolutely did not look 100% in Game 1, and LeBron took a nasty spill that may or may not have been embellished...
It is hard to tell how injured all three players are, but there is no doubt that they will play through any pain to try and win this series.
Ultimately, here in Game 2, I fully expect to see a much better LeBron and AD. The big question is whether the Suns will continue to get a full team performance. They have proved everyone wrong all season long, but they still have a ways to go to knock off the defending champs.
Until I see it, I just cannot pick against LeBron and the Lakers in this series.