It’s do-or-die time for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers as they get set for Game 6 of their first round playoff series against the feisty Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
Down three games to two, LA needs a win in Game 6 if they want to extend their season for at least one more game. Will the defending champs show their championship mettle to force a Game 7 after getting embarrassed in Game 5?
Will injury-prone all-star power forward Anthony ‘Street Clothes’ Davis suit up for what could be LA’s final game this season? If Davis isn’t available, does Los Angeles even stand a chance of getting past a Suns squad that has shown some real fight in this series?
With a bunch of questions surrounding the Lakers, let’s find out what lies ahead as we get set for Game 6. The NBA Odds for this matchup are live and offering a ton of value in the BetUS Online Sportsbook right now.
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
When: Thursday, June 3, 2021, at 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet, Bally Sports AZ
Radio: ESPN Radio, ESPN LA 710/KWKW (S)KMVP 98.7 / S: KSUN
NBA Odds: Phoenix +2 || LA Lakers -2
Can Suns Put Battered LA Away?
Phoenix smacked Los Angeles around from start to finish in Game 5 on Tuesday as predicted, winning 115-85 as Devin Booker put up a game-high 30 points. The Suns saw four players score in double figures including a timely 16 points from reserve point guard Cameron Payne.
In the middle of it all was future Hall of Fame floor general Chris Paul who finished with nine points, six assists and four rebounds in just 23 minutes. Despite those modest numbers, Paul’s influence on the outcome was invaluable as Phoenix was a stunning plus-34 with him on the court.
“We just played our style,” Paul said afterward. “We kept the pace going, shared the ball. We just played the way that we play.”
The Suns got 13 points from young forward Mikal Bridges and 11 points from reserve forward Cameron Johnson in the win.
Lakers Looking To Reach Game 7
Los Angeles looked absolutely horrific in Game 5 and clearly needs a relatively healthy Anthony Davis on the floor in order to get past the younger, hungrier Suns. The problem is that Davis, who Charles Barkley humorously calls, ‘Street Clothes’ is injured almost as much as he is healthy.
The difference-making all-star missed Game 5 after suffering an injured groin in Game 4. Davis will be a game-time decision to suit up in Game 6, but superstar forward LeBron James isn’t expecting his running mate to be on the court on Thursday night.
“My mindset is that he’s not going to be able to play in Game 6, but that’s just my mindset,” James said. “If something changes, we go from there. It’s literally win or go home … so you shoot all the bullets you got and throw the gun too. I look forward to the environment.”
Not only that, but the quickly aging James, who finished with 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes, suddenly looks human. Still, the future Hall of Famer didn’t mince words following his team’s embarrassing performance the last time out.
“We got our ass kicked. It’s that simple,” James said. “We have to be better if we want to force a Game 7. They pretty much just kicked our ass. There’s nothing else to say.”
Whether Davis plays in Game 6 or not, the Lakers need someone other than their two all-stars to show up with a big game on Thursday. Veteran point guard Dennis Schroeder has been hit-and-miss all series. Schroder is averaging 22 points on 52% shooting in the Lakers’ two wins but just 7.3 points on 28% shooting in their three losses.
“We have to be creative in finding ways to get Dennis going; he’s a hell of a player,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s been huge for us this year. He’s struggled a couple games this series. But we’ve gotta put this one behind us and be a little more creative in getting him going. Because when he’s going, we’re a hell of a team. He had a tough night.”
No Davis…No Chance for Injury-Riddled Lakers
Phoenix has lost both games played in Los Angeles, but looks like a great pick to finish off LA in Game 6 from where I’m sitting. The Suns are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as a road underdog.
On the flip side of the coin, the Lakers are 6-13-1 ATS in their last 20 games overall, 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games and 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite.
While LA is 6-2 ATS in its last eight home dates against the Suns, I’m going with Phoenix to finish off this series by keeping LeBron James and everyone on the Lakers roster, largely in check. I’m going with Phoenix and the points in my back pocket to get it done as a value-packed road dog in Game 6.