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Game 5 Preview: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns

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Many of the NBA Playoffs series have been one-sided and somewhat boring for fans thus far.  However, that is not the case with the Lakers vs. Suns series. These two Western Conference heavyweights are knotted up in a 2-2 deadlock heading into Game 5 tonight at 10:00PM EST (ESPN).

Which team will gain the upper hand in a pivotal Game 5 matchup?  The Suns will be on their home floor in Phoenix where they have been tough to beat.  Phoenix is currently a 4-point betting favorite at several online sportsbooks.  Here are the four main questions that most hoops fans are asking heading into Game 5.

Will Anthony Davis Be Able to Play?

LeBron James is indeed one of the greatest NBA players to ever take the hardwood, but so much of the Lakers offense is centered around big man Anthony Davis.  AD suffered a left groin strain after landing awkwardly on a layup attempt in Game 4.  The 6-10 center is currently listed as day-to-day.  

If Davis cannot play, the Lakers will have to rely on Marc Gasol or Andre Drummond.  Gasol is a solid presence down low on the block, but he is long past his scoring prime (only 5 points per game this season).  Drummond may actually be the better option if Davis is unavailable, as he averaged double figures in both points and rebounds this season.

If AD Can’t Play, Can LeBron Run the Whole Show?

Obviously, James proved in Cleveland back in 2016 that he could win a title with not much of a supporting cast.  If Davis is a no-go for the Lakers in Game 5, James will have to put the team on his back for at least 40 minutes.  Is that possible for James to do at age 36?

It is nearly impossible for anyone to doubt the future Hall of Famer’s ability to dominate a basketball game.  However, James has played nearly 1,600 career NBA games (when including playoffs).  As great as James is, it is going to be difficult on him carrying the entire load if Davis can’t play.

Can Chris Paul Keep Playing at Such a High Level?

Paul showed flashes of his old brilliance in Game 4 while leading the Suns to a 100-92 victory.  Even with an injured shoulder, Paul scored 18 points and dished out nine assists.  Much like the Lakers and Davis, the Suns offense flows through Paul and they are a much better team with him on the floor.  CP3 has the innate ability to make all of his teammates play at a higher level while he is on the court.

Which Team has the Edge in Game 5?

The key to this question ultimately comes down to the health of Anthony Davis.  If AD plays, the game is basically a toss up.  However, if Davis is ruled out, the Suns enjoy a huge matchup advantage, especially if Paul’s shoulder keeps healing up.  Phoenix has been tough to handle on their home floor all season long by posting a 27-9 record at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

 

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