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NBA Playoff Predictions – Lakers Likely Without Davis For Game 5 vs. Suns

The Los Angeles Lakers may now be in a hole. They had gotten off to a 21-6 start but then suffered through injury problems that relegated them to the play-in tournament as they were defending their NBA title.

Now they may be missing one of their genuine superstars as they move ahead to the Valley of the Sun to contest Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns, which will get underway at 10:05 PM ET.

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Here are their NBA odds that have been posted on the game:

Phoenix Suns -5.5
Los Angeles Lakers +5.5

Over 207 points -110
Under 207 points -110

In Sunday’s Game 4, the Suns went to the locker room with a 54-50 lead, then came out and pressed their advantage in the third quarter, extending their lead to 16 points with twelve minutes left. Ultimately the final was 100-92.

There was good reason for Phoenix to come out strong in the second half.

Anthony Davis had scored 34 points in each of the two games Los Angeles won in this series. But in Game 4, he apparently was bothered by a groin injury, made two of nine shots and exited the game at halftime. He is now listed as questionable for Game 5.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s status is unclear as well. He had to sit out Game 4 with a knee injury.

In games against playoff teams, the Lakers have shot just 44% and scored just below 101 points per game when they have had LeBron James and have been without Davis.

The Lakers won’t necessarily lack for muscle, as they have Andre Drummond in the middle, with Marc Gasol coming off the bench. But neither has the dynamism of Davis, who thrives more when he is playing at power forward. Markieff Morris would get minutes in his stead. He’s helpful, but Frank Vogel has not had all the confidence in the world in him, having sat him out completely in six of the last ten games.

Defensively, there is no question that a problem will exist. Davis’ prowess as an intimidator is well-known, and Phoenix’s DeAndre Ayton hasn’t missed much. He’s made 38 out of 47 attempts (80.8%) thus far. And by the way, Chris Paul, after scoring just 20 points in the first three games of this series, had 18 on Sunday, with nine assists without a turnover.

The Lakers shot 40 triples on Sunday (with 32.5% accuracy), and they may have to shoot from long range even more now. This is not the route they really want to go.

We can’t disparage the Laker bench, which still has some firepower in the persons of Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso. But they have to hope LeBron doesn’t get a hangnail, or he might be out of action as well. And the Suns were among the top seven in the NBA on both offense and defense this season. Any team not on its “A” game needs to look out.

Not sure we’re ready to lay the points, though; let’s look for the Lakers’ offensive capability to come down a notch or two, as it forces them into over-reliance on LeBron and three-point shooting. We go UNDER.

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