The Los Angeles Lakers were blown out in embarrassing fashion by the Phoenix Suns, losing Game 5, 115-85, and setting up a win-or-go-home Game 6 at Staples Center on Thursday.
LeBron James led the team in scoring with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting, while Kyle Kuzma added 15 points off the bench. The only other Laker to score in double digits was Talen Horton-Tucker, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds although a lot of that came in garbage time.
The most disappointing player of the night, however, was Dennis Schroder, who did not score and went 0-of-9 from the field. He only contributed four rebounds and one assist and did not seem confident in his decision-making when out on the floor.
Schroder preached the Lakers needed to forget about their Game 5 debacle and come better prepared for Game 6.
“That wasn’t a good one. I think you got to flush that one and try to get ready for the next one,” Schroder said. “It’s just one game they won. Home-court advantage. They’re supposed to do that and now we got to go back and give everything we have. … Now going through adversity and staying together is the biggest part right now.”
The point guard had his worst performance of the season and he had no excuses for his outing. “I’ve got to do better for sure. That’s not even a question.
“Like I said, I don’t even know if I’m watching film on that one. We got to flush that one. Stay positive and I’m going to be better Game 6. I think everybody can do better, but it starts with me for sure. AD was out. It starts with me being aggressive and helping LeBron [James] and all these other guys to put pressure on the rim. It starts with me for sure.”
With Anthony Davis out of the lineup and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope still hobbling, the Lakers needed a more aggressive and decisive Schroder. However, Los Angeles got the complete opposite of that player as the guard hesitated on several occasions when presented open looks and did not find much success penetrating the Suns defense.
Schroder surprisingly turned down a reported four-year, $84 million contract extension earlier in the year and he may end up regretting that decision if he does not play better the rest of the series. Game 6 will say a lot about Schroder and whether or not the Lakers should keep him long-term.
Schroder calls for Lakers players to shoot with confidence
It was not just Schroder who passed up open looks from beyond the arc as several other Lakers shooters seemed scared to let it fly. James would laser passes after getting close to the rim, but when shooters did not pull the trigger it would kill the possession for L.A.
Schroder noted the team as a whole has to be confident when shooting the basketball in order to give James more room to operate, and it starts with him being aggressive.
“I got to play my game. I just got to be aggressive and be Dennis. You can’t control if the ball is going in, but at the end of the day, I’m going to stay aggressive. Keep shooting them and I got to make them. Everybody got to make them.
“We trust each other and I think everybody just got to have confidence in each other and then shots going to fall. Individually, you just got to take pride in making them shots as well. They’re swarming LeBron [James] all the way in the paint. There’s like four or five guys there and we just got to be confident shooting the ball.”
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