In a pivotal Game 5 that normally decides the fate of a series tied 2-2, the Los Angeles Lakers put up their most disappointing effort of the 2020-21 season and were blown out by the Phoenix Suns, 115-85.
The Lakers actually got off to a relatively good start as they played with pace and energy to take an early game lead, but then Devin Booker got rolling from the field and the game was quickly put away. Los Angeles only managed to score 10 points in the second quarter and found themselves staring at a 30-point hole at halftime.
The second half was not any better as the Lakers simply did not show any fight or willingness to try and climb back into the game. Kyle Kuzma was critical of the team’s performance and said they would need to come out differently for Game 6.
“Just tough, I think we just didn’t show up with any heart. They were obviously the aggressors, did whatever they want offensively, punked us defensively and we got disrespected out there. So we got to strap it up in Game 6.”
Kuzma added the Lakers need to just buckle down and get back to playing their style of basketball.
“Man, we just got to be men, we got to strap this shit up. We got to play with heart, play like we want to win.”
There were not many positives to take away from Game 5 as Los Angeles did not respond after Phoenix threw the first punch of the night. Head coach Frank Vogel did his best to find a lineup combination that could spark the team, but nothing seemed to work as the Suns continued to pour it on both ends of the floor.
The thought that the Purple and Gold can turn on a switch and pull out games has arguably been their downfall and now find themselves backed into a corner. In a do-or-die situation, the Lakers will need to dig deep if they hope to keep the series going.
Hopefully the embarrassment of the Game 5 loss and well as facing elimination will motivate the Lakers, and Kuzma believes that will be the case.
“Well I mean if we don’t play better then we’re gonna lose, simple as that. So that’s all the really motivation that we kind of need and yeah, we just got to strap this shit up. We got to play.”
Kyle Kuzma admits Lakers missed Anthony Davis’ defense
Anthony Davis was a game-time decision but was ultimately ruled out due to his strained groin. Davis is the defensive anchor for the Lakers and Kuzma admitted the team particularly missed his rim protection.
“Defensively, I think that’s the biggest thing,” Kuzma said on the impact of losing Davis. “Obviously we all know what he can do offensively but him being the anchor for us down there on that low side, you just saw guards all night just walk to the rim. I don’t think that would’ve been the case if he played a little bit.”
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