Before the Series Started, Lakers Were Expected to Win
When the Lakers matched up with the Warriors in the play-in, everyone tuned in. Chef Curry vs. The King was going to be a very intense matchup due to their history. Curry was missing his sidekick in Klay Thompson, though so it was going to be a little bit more difficult to keep up with the high-powered duo of Davis and LeBron. Not to mention the Warriors were missing Kelly Oubre (wrist injury) and James Wiseman (meniscus). Well the former champion-Warriors fell to LeBron and co. so they were back to the drawing board. As for LeBron and Davis, they were onto the next round to go up against the surging Phoenix Suns.
Many fans were speculating that the Lakers were going to make another run at a championship. However, they were going against the no. 2 seed Suns. It was no easy challenge, but the Suns were up to the challenge. The Suns had a resurgence this year as they finished as the two seed with a stellar 51-21 record, easily their best since 2010. This was also their first playoff appearance since said year, when they made the conference finals and lost to, that’s right, the eventual champion Lakers. Because of that alone, this matchup was highly anticipated and definitely one for the books.
The Lakers Face an Injury of Their Own
The Lakers seemed to have control of the series when they were up 2-1. Davis had a very slow first game, going 5/16 from the field for only 13 points and seven boards. LeBron wasn’t a whole lot better going only 6/13 for 18 points and five turnovers. Despite the slow start, the former champs got back together and played much better, winning the next two games. Davis exploded for 34/10/7 and three swats in the game two win. LeBron also stepped up and poured in 23 points and nine dimes. In Game 3, LeBron and Davis combined for 56 points and 17 rebounds in the win. Unfortunately, Davis picked up a groin injury in Game 4 and this is it where the Lakers came to a screeching halt.
Anthony Davis Suffers Groin Injury (Chris Paul Also has Nagging Shoulder Injury)
Already having an abysmal game, Davis got injured 19 minutes into Game 4. Since groin injuries are easily aggravated and can happen again, Davis ended up missing the next game. The Suns took advantage, winning their second straight game and going up 3-2. Now, the questionable part about this happening was the choice made by Lakers doctors. They gave him the okay to go ahead and start in Game 6 (obviously with their backs against the wall, they felt like they had no choice). It was a weird move but he wounded up starting. He got hurt and reaggravated his groin injured just six minutes into the game. As odd as it was, they can’t take back what they did and they dealt with the consequences.
The Suns Win Their First Playoff Series Since 2010
Pheonix advanced to the second round for the first time since 2010, when Kobe Bryant took care of them in the conference finals. The Suns got their revenge in this year’s run and they will continue to make some noise in the West. Give credit to Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder because this team is certified gold right now. Fun fact: LeBron was 14-0 in the first round in his career until last night. He is now 14-1.
Sun Players Stats
Booker has been in a different dimension this year, averaging an unconscious 30/6/5 on 49/43/93 shooting splits. Ayton was also uber-efficient from the court, averaging 16 points (80% shooting from the field) and 11 rebounds a game. Bridges averaged 9/4/2/2/1 including 38% from three and 100% from the line (he had one total attempt). Chris Paul was hobbled throughout much of the series, averaging a career-low 28.6 minutes a game. He also averaged a career-low in points (9.2) and steals (1.0). He still avarged a nice 7.7 dimes a game, though. Lastly, Crowder started off woefully slow, making two out of 20 attempts from three in the first three games. He turned it around in game four, making 3/8 total threes. He finished the series with averages of 11/5/2/1/1 on 39/30/85 shooting splits.