The Phoenix Suns will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the LA Lakers on Tuesday. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire).
- Phoenix is a 1.5-point underdog versus Los Angeles in Game 2 of their 1st Round series on Tuesday (May 25th, 10:10 pm ET)
- The Suns took the series opener 99-90, led by Devin Booker (34 pts) and Deandre Ayton (21 pts, 16 reb)
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
The Phoenix Suns can’t get any respect. Despite being one of only two teams with 50+ wins in the regular season, they opened up as a series underdog to the LA Lakers in the 1st Round of the playoffs. They were also an underdog in Game 1, and they responded by upsetting the defending champs 99-90. So surely, the Game 2 odds will favor them right?
Lakers vs Suns Odds – Game 2
|Team||Spread||Moneyline at FanDuel||Total|
|LA Lakers||-1.5 (-110)||-120||O 208.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||+1.5 (-110)||+102||U 208.5 (-110)|
Odds as of May 24th.
Wrong. Phoenix is once again a 1.5-point home underdog to LA, in a game that features a total of 208.5. The Suns improved to 3-1 versus the Lakers in 2021 by beating them on Sunday, and can take a commanding 2-0 series lead when the two teams square off again on Tuesday (May 25th, 10:10 pm ET).
Booker and Ayton Ball Out
Phoenix’s young stars stole the show on Sunday, as Devin Booker poured in 34 points, while Deandre Ayton added 21 points and 16 boards. Ayton was a menace at the offensive end, burying 10 of his 11 attempts, and gobbling up 8 offensive rebounds.
Deandre Ayton is the 2nd player in postseason history to shoot 90% (or better) in a 20-point, 15-rebound game against the Lakers, joining Bill Russell, who did it in Game 2 of the 1965 NBA Finals h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/T0CXG8LBQW
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 23, 2021
Ayton completely outplayed his counterpart Anthony Davis, more on his struggles later, and both he and Booker looked like playoff veterans in their postseason debuts.
Speaking of playoff vets, the Suns survived a major scare when Chris Paul went down in the second quarter. Paul collided with teammate Cameron Jordan and told the media afterwards he heard a “crack” in his right shoulder. The 11-time All-Star stayed down for several minutes before being helped off the court, but managed to return a short while later.
“Just was praying for him, hoping he was OK.”
“It was inspirational to watch him out there.”
“We know he’s a fighter.”
Chris Paul said he’s “absolutely” good to go for Game 2 Tuesday after hearing “a crack” in suffering shoulder injury in #Suns 99-90 win Sunday over #Lakers. pic.twitter.com/L5bRcUPYTW
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) May 24, 2021
Paul ultimately gutted out 36 minutes in Game 1, mostly dribbling with his left hand after the injury and taking only a few shots. He’s confident he’ll be able to play in Game 2, and his presence on the court will be imperative for Phoenix if they hope to pull off another upset.
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Does Size Matter?
One of the big questions heading into this series was whether or not the Suns would be able to handle the Lakers size? Well, they certainly passed their first test with flying colors. Phoenix dominated the rebounding battle 47-33, while racking up 16 offensive boards. They outscored LA in the paint 52-44, and Ayton and company did a number on AD.
Anthony Davis isn’t this disengaged by accident. Had the life pummeled out of him by Deandre Ayton on both ends all damn day. Can’t believe i just typed that sentence and it’s actually true but give the man his credit, looks so improved from his rookie season.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 23, 2021
Davis managed only 13 points, on 5-of-16 shooting, while Ayton had more offensive rebounds than Davis had total rebounds.
The Lakers as a team were dismal from beyond the arc, knocking down just 26.9% of their attempts, and struggled at the free throw line (60.7%). LeBron James did manage 18 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds, but the 90 points were the fewest the team has scored with James and Davis both in the lineup all year.
Been There, Done That
A LeBron led team has never lost in the 1st Round of the playoffs, and slow starts in the postseason are nothing new to the Lakers. Last year, they lost the opening game in each of their first two series before rallying back, and eventually winning the title.
You could bet on history repeating itself, and oddsmakers are as LA is still a -118 favorite to win this series, but why not target the over instead. The total has been shaved by 5.5-points compared to Game 1, yet we can’t expect the Lakers to perform as badly on offense as they did on Sunday.
They were uncharacteristically bad from both the charity stripe and beyond the arc, and positive regression is likely headed their way. AD, who averages 28.3 points per playoff game in his career, will surely bounce back and another goose egg for Kyle Kuzma is not realistic.
The Suns meanwhile, averaged 115.3 points per game this season, and saw 9 of their last 10, and 21 of their past 27 regular season outings fly over the total.
Pick: Over 208.5 (-110)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.