Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers NBA Playoffs Preview
Preview, Prediction and Picks
While the Los Angeles Lakers starred in this NBA first round playoff series by winning Game 2 on the road against the Phoenix Suns, both teams are now heading to Los Angeles for Thursday's game.
And attention has shifted from LeBron James's ailing right ankle to Chris Paul's bald shoulder.
James looked like he was before, finishing with 23 points and burying decisive shots down the stretch to lead the Lakers to victory in Game 2.
However, the 36-year-old Phoenix veteran playmaker struggled to go 23 mostly ineffective minutes in his team's 109-102 loss in the desert on Tuesday. Paul finished with just six points and five assists and didn't look like the consummate playmaker who helped the Suns take second place in the Western Conference.
So it will be a difficult task for the Suns to get a victory in Los Angeles if Paul is not at full power.
With Paul not at full capacity, the Suns will need to rely even more on Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and backup guard Cameron Payne for scoring and playing, as well as defensive intensity.
Booker and Ayton have carried the scoring load offensively so far in the series, averaging more than 50 points per game. And with Paul working, Payne finished with 19 points and seven assists off the bench in Game 2.
For the Lakers, big man Anthony Davis bounced back from a disappointing 13-point effort in Game 1 to help Los Angeles pull off a big win in Game 2, finishing with 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks.
The Lakers also played from the front rather than from behind, gaining a six-point lead after the starting quarterback.
Vogel said his team's ability to get off to a quick start is important and the Lakers must continue as they look to take a series lead in Game 3.
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