The Los Angeles Lakers travel back to the desert to face the Phoenix Suns for a pivotal Game 5 in a first-round playoff series that has been thrilling so far. It’s time to continue our NBA Playoffs odds series and make a Lakers-Suns prediction and pick.
The Lakers are coming off a loss on their home floor, and more importantly, the loss of Anthony Davis to a groin strain. Davis is currently listed as questionable to play Game 5.
The Suns are riding high after regaining home-court advantage in a game where Chris Paul looked much more like himself after being questionable to even play.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Lakers-Suns odds.
NBA Odds: Lakers-Suns Odds
Los Angeles Lakers +4.5 (-110)
Phoenix Suns -4.5 (-110)
Over 209.5 Points (-110)
Under 209.5 Points (-110)
Why The Lakers Could Cover The Spread
The biggest concern for the Lakers is the health of two of their key starters.
Anthony Davis is dealing with a groin strain, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is recovering from a knee injury. Both are questionable to play in Game 5.
Lakers fans and bettors will hold out hope that both of them can at least play limited minutes. It’ll be a game, and series changer, if they do.
Even in the worst-case scenario where neither play, the Lakers still have one of the best players on the planet in LeBron James.
LeBron has played more of the distributor role in the series so far, averaging 21.8 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.3 rebounds though the first four games. If Davis doesn’t play, expect him to easily break 30 points in this game.
In a series that has been extremely low scoring, it’s certainly possible that a James scoring outburst could be enough for the Lakers to pull this one out. Neither team has scored over 110 points in a game, and both teams have finished under 100 points twice apiece.
With a hobbled star, Los Angeles badly needs this game to be another low-scoring contest. Their defense has proven up to the task, holding Suns shooters to only 32.3% from beyond the arc and 44.8% from the field. This is 5 percentage points lower in each category than Phoenix shot in the regular season.
The Lakers’ postseason future is in the hands of LeBron James and their defense right now, which is not a bad place to be considering the circumstances.
Why The Suns Could Cover The Spread
Phoenix is coming into this game with nearly all the momentum.
The Suns toppled the Lakers on their home floor to avoid a nearly insurmountable deficit, and Chris Paul scored 18 points while fighting through a shoulder injury that has hampered him.
Now, they have the opportunity to take a 3-2 lead on their home floor while the Lakers have to deal with injury problems.
Even if Anthony Davis does play, it’s very likely he’ll be on a minutes restriction. Without a healthy AD, Los Angeles should be heavily handicapped on the offensive end.
Even when Davis was playing, the Suns have been excellent defensively. They’ve almost entirely shut down the Lakers from beyond the arc, holding them to only 29.1% from distance. Los Angeles hasn’t fared much better from the field, shooting only 43.0% on all shot attempts.
Now, the Lakers could be without their leading scorer in Davis and one of their best shooters in KCP. This could be a long night for James and company on the offensive end.
The Suns have much more balanced scoring with four players averaging double-digit point totals in the series. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton have been excellent in their postseason debuts, averaging 25.3 and 19.8 points, respectively.
Phoenix was already giving the Lakers a serious run with a healthy Davis. It’s hard to see them losing against a one-man show, even if that one man is LeBron James.
Final Lakers-Suns Prediction & Pick
Barring an offensive masterpiece from LeBron James, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers reaching triple-digit scoring in this one. The Suns’ defense will be able to focus nearly their entire efforts on stopping James, and Los Angeles hasn’t shown the depth necessary to overcome this. Couple this with the multiple scoring options that Phoenix has, and I’ll take the Suns to get a key victory and cover on their home floor.
FINAL LAKERS-SUNS PREDICTION & PICK: PHOENIX SUNS -4.5: PHX 111, LAL 102