Tue, Jun 1, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Phoenix Suns host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, June 1, at 10 PM ET at the Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The Western Conference first-round series is tied at two games apiece.
Phoenix is looking to grab a leg up in this pivotal game five in what has been a tight series through the first four games. The Suns are the two-seed, while the Lakers are the seven-seed in the Western Conference.
The Suns picked up the victory in game four, 100-92. Chris Paul led the Suns with 18 points, while LeBron James poured in 25 for the Lakers in the losing cause. Devin Booker and Jae Crowder each contributed 17 points for the Suns.
Phoenix head coach Monty Williams initially wanted to sit Paul for game four, but Paul gave an impassioned speech prior to tip-off that changed his mind.
“He said, ‘Coach, let me start, and if you don’t think I’m looking like I normally do, then take me out and we'll have to go in a different direction,’” Williams said. “This is one of those situations that I had to trust the player.”
Paul has struggled to begin the series because of a sore right arm. A little time off helped him regain his form and it showed in the game four win over the Lakers.
“Everything clicks a little better with 3 on the court and with 3 being himself,” Crowder said. “I feel like we feed off of that. He’s a big part of the puzzle. It’s a little challenging when we don’t have him doing things he normally does. It’s definitely monumental that he’s out there for our team.”
The Suns were able to take advantage of the Lakers being without Anthony Davis in the second half. Davis scored 34 points in each of the Lakers’ two victories in the series. In the first half of game four, Davis scored just six points before failing to return to the court. Davis missed 30 games during the regular season.
“I thought he was laboring a little bit,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Davis. “He was saying that his knee was sore, but there was no way that he was not going to play. I thought he gave a heck of a run at it, trying to compete through pain.”
Paul was very happy that Williams listened to his speech and decided to play him in game four.
"I don't know how long it's going to be, but if you all feel like I’m out here looking like some trash, just tell me and I’ll get out.”
“I hadn’t touched a basketball or anything since the last game,” Paul added. “We didn’t have a lot of guys that missed a lot of games this season, so we’re used to playing a certain way. I was just glad I could be out there and help.”
Game five in a 2-2 series can determine who will advance in game six. Look for the Suns to get on a roll and knock off the Lakers tonight. Put your money on Phoenix and the -5 spread.