LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers might be decisive home favorites heading into Game 3 of their first round playoff series, but the Phoenix Suns are getting all the love. Okay, okay, Phoenix isn’t getting all the love, but over 60 percent of public bettors are backing the feisty Suns to at least cover the spread in LA on Thursday night.
After the first two games of this highly intriguing series resulted in a split, let’s find out which ballclub is offering the best betting value in Game 3. The NBA Odds for this matchup are live in the BetUS Online Sportsbook right now.
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
When: Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 10 p.m. ET
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet, Bally Sports AZ
Radio: ESPN LA 710/KWKW (S)KMVP 98.7 / S: KSUN
Phoenix +6½ || LA Lakers -6½
Moneyline: Phoenix +240 || LA Lakers -290
Suns Need Injury-Free CP3
After jumping all over the Lakers 99-90 in Game 1, Phoenix came up short in Tuesday’s 109-102 home loss in Game 2. The Suns failed to cover the spread as a 2-point home underdog, but put up another great effort to keep it close until the very end.
Devin Booker scored a team-high 31 points and made all 17 of his free throws. Blossoming center Deandre Ayton added 22 points, 10 rebounds on 11 of 13 shooting from the field.
“LeBron and AD made big plays but we had our chances,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “The first quarter hurt us, turnovers in the first quarter.
Now, heading into Game 3, Phoenix needs future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul to be as close to 100 percent healthy as possible. The veteran floor leader suffered a right shoulder contusion in the second quarter of the Suns’ Game 1 win and has clearly struggled since. Paul was limited to 23 minutes in Game 2, including just seven minutes in the second half, when he had one point and two assists. Paul finished with six points on 2-of-5 shooting, along with five assists and three rebounds.
“I took him out, that was all me,” Williams said. “Just looking at him holding his arm the way he was holding it, I just couldn’t watch him run like that, trying to make plays. He battled. He’s a warrior, we all know that. I just made a decision to take him out.”
Lakers Need Repeat Performance From AD, LeBron
After getting outplayed by Ayton in Game 1, all-star forward Anthony Davis bounced back nicely by scoring a game-high 34 points with 10 rebounds. James added 23 points and nine assists.
”This was a must win,” Davis said. ”We all came out with that mindset and we were able to get the job done.”
Veteran point guard Dennis Schroeder added 24 points and center Andre Drummond chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds in the win. Now, the Lakers need a repeat performance from their two superstars in order to get past a Suns team that clearly isn’t going to lay down for anyone.
Suns Continue Fight to Cover
Phoenix really needs Chris Paul to be as close to fully healthy as possible for Game 3, but if he’s not, I don’t see the Pacific Division champs simply giving up. The Suns finished with the second-best record in the NBA for a reason. I love Phoenix’s mix of youthful exuberance and sage veteran leadership and I believe the Suns will cover the spread in this affair.
Phoenix has gone 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games following a straight up loss, 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a road underdog and a bankroll-boosting 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog.
On the flip side of the coin, the Lakers are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall, 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite and 1-4 ATS in their last five playoff games as a favorite.
Phoenix might be 2-5 ATS in its last seven road dates against the Lakers, but the Suns are a completely different team now than the ones that compiled the vast majority of those ATS trends. I’m expecting Phoenix to put up another big-time fight to cover the spread. It’s that simple.