There are many who believe that in order for the Los Angeles Lakers to defend their 2020 NBA Championship, Anthony Davis must be the team’s best player. For the second straight game that was the case, and for the second straight game, L.A. came out on top.
Davis once again finished with 34 points, adding in 10 rebounds in Game 3 as the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns, 109-95, to take a 2-1 series lead in this first round matchup.
Davis was again aggressive from the beginning, setting the tone and attacking the basket early on as the Lakers were clearly inspired by their first playoff game at Staples Center since 2013. But Phoenix was up to the task early on, matching the Lakers every step of the way.
The second quarter was an offensive struggle on both ends as the two teams combined for just 28 points, going through long offensive droughts. But the Lakers turned it up in the second half, continuing to attack the paint as their outside shot remained non-existent.
The Lakers shot just 7-of-28 from 3-point range but it didn’t matter as they scored 58 points in the paint, 20 more than their opposition. They also outrebounded the Suns by 16, including 15 on the offensive glass.
LeBron James finished with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds but also had seven turnovers as the Lakers as a whole did an awful job of taking care of the ball. The Lakers had 20 as a team with Davis adding five of his own and Dennis Schroder having three.
The Lakers took the game over in the second half, pushing the lead out to as much as 21 with the crowd and especially the bench having a ton of fun. Perhaps a bit too much as Phoenix would fight back and even bring the lead within single digits down the stretch before the Lakers put it away for good.
Things would also get very chippy between the two sides with a ton of talking throughout the latter stages. Most notably was a Devin Booker foul on Schroder, ruled a Flagrant 2, that saw him get ejected. Immediately after, Jae Crowder was ejected for trash-talking Schroder as well.
Aside from getting under the skin of the Suns, Schroder was the only other Laker in double-figures with 20 points and four assists while Andre Drummond added six points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers also got a pair of huge 3-pointers and some physical defense from Wesley Matthews while Kyle Kuzma didn’t let a 2-of-12 shooting night affect him as he grabbed 10 rebounds and dished three assists to go along with eight points.
Next up for the Lakers
Game 4 of the series will take place on Sunday at Staples Center and the Lakers will have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The two teams will then go back to Phoenix for Game 5 next Tuesday.
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