LeBron James and Chris Paul are both expected to be in the lineup in Game 2 after suffering individual shoulder injuries in Game 1 as the Los Angeles Lakers look to even the series with the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns got the better of the Lakers in Game 1, winning 99-90 in one of the uglier games of the year for L.A. Offensively, they failed to convert open jumpers with any consistency, while star Anthony Davis played one of his worst games in recent memory.
On defense, they were picked apart by Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, who used a pick-and-roll attack to get the Lakers centers off balance, leading to easy shots for both players. The Lakers have an immense amount of adjustments to make to turn the tide of the series in Game 2.
Once again, both teams have nearly their full disposal of players, with minimal injuries listed on each team’s reports. Paul and James each suffered minor shoulder injuries during Game 1, but both were able to continue playing and would definitely not miss a game unless they physically had to.
Frank Vogel spoke about James’ shoulder and ankle injuries and whether or not they could affect his play moving forward. “I’m moving forward as if he’s a healthy player understanding there’s going to be a play or two throughout the game where he doesn’t move on it very well. That just comes with a guy playing through an injury.
“An ideal situation is he has a few weeks to put it behind him, but he’s moving on it pretty well in most situations. I approach the game like he’s a healthy player and just understand there’s going to be a handful of plays where it looks like it limits him.”
However, success in Game 2 goes beyond just James looking healthy. They need bounce back performances from Davis, Dennis Schroder and almost every other Lakers player. No one — outside of maybe Alex Caruso — played a consistent Game 1.
If they can get out on the fastbreak, convert on open jump shots, and find a way to stop the pick-and-roll defensively, they can put themselves in a much better position for the rest of the series. It would also behoove them to get a clearer grasp on their center rotation, as there remains uncertainty surrounding the roles of Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Davis.
A win on Tuesday ties the series at 1-1 heading back to L.A., while a loss means the Lakers would need to win four of five the rest of the way to stay alive.
Lakers (0-1) vs. Suns (1-0)
7:00 p.m. PT, May 25, 2021
Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schroder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Andre Drummond
Key Reserves: Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, Talen Horton-Tucker, Marc Gasol, Markieff Morris
Projected Suns Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: DeAndre Ayton
Key Reserves: Dario Saric, Cameron Payne, Cam Johnson, Torrey Craig
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