Coming into the 2021 playoffs, the number two seed Suns had not seen playoff action since 2010. In 2010, the Suns were the number three seed making it to the western conference finals where they faced the number one seed Lakers. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers would go on to win the series 4-2 and eventually the NBA title that year. Fast forward to 2021 and another Lakers versus Suns matchup has been given to the basketball world, the Suns being the two seed and the Lakers the seventh seed.
The Suns this season were one of the most efficient regular-season teams despite being such a young lineup. With veteran point guard Chris Paul at the helm, it is almost like the last piece of the puzzle was placed. The Lakers, on the other hand, have been hit with the injury bug this season as star players Anthony Davis and LeBron James both missed their fair share of games. Nevertheless, the Lakers defeated the Warriors to stay alive and make the playoffs and have the Suns in their path.
Coming into the series, the Lakers were the favorite which is the first time in thirty years that a seventh seed was favored over a two seed. However, the series sits in a 1-1 tie, despite the heavy favoritism of the Lakers. Phoenix controlled game one the entire way coming out with a 99-90 win. LeBron and Anthony Davis showed why they should never be doubted with a 109-102 win in game two.
Now that the series is tied, I think any doubt about how LeBron and Anthony Davis can respond to a loss has gone out the door. Los Angeles is 6-0 in the LeBron era following a loss in the playoffs, and Tuesday night proved why there should be no doubt that the Lakers can beat the Suns.
Phoenix brings a young talented lineup, but the Lakers bring plenty of experience that should prove to be a valuable asset in the playoffs. While it would be crazy to count out the Suns when they showed in game one that they can hang with and beat the Lakers, Los Angeles at home in front of the fans at Staples Center will be a tough environment. If Phoenix manages to steal a game in LA, then this will be a whole new series, but the basketball tides have changed with the Lakers taking a game in Phoenix; thus, making the next two games in LA even better.
Heading into game three on Thursday evening, the Lakers have all the momentum and I will take a championship experienced team led by LeBron with momentum over a young Suns team any day. All eyes should shift to LA on Thursday night because game three will be the key game as to who might pull away with this series, and the Lakers should not be doubted any longer.
Stats from espn.com and cbssports.com
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