With Anthony Davis out of the Los Angeles Lakers lineup and Markieff Morris inserted in his place, the Phoenix Suns saw an opportunity to seize control of this first-round series. They did so in emphatic fashion, winning 115-85 in a game that was never even remotely close.
Right from the opening tip, the Suns were in attack mode offensively, with Devin Booker scoring 18 points in the first quarter and their role players taking advantage of open opportunities. The Lakers, on the other hand, failed to make use of open 3-pointers — the way they have all series — and played their worst game of the season.
Morris explained what went wrong for L.A. and what went right for the Suns on Tuesday night. “Really they just took the fight to us,” Morris said. “I feel like we started the game off a little hesitant.
“We needed everybody to be aggressive without AD in the game and I feel like we were passive early on and weren’t attacking. They were attacking us, they’re at home, they’ve got the momentum of the crowd and they just did a good job of hitting us first and keeping us down.”
Now, the Lakers face an elimination game for the first time since LeBron James joined the Lakers. Morris spoke about how the team needs to approach that Thursday’s Game 6.
“Just a must-win. We have to approach the game with that sense of desperation. A lot of these guys have been in this position, this team is such a high-caliber team. But a lot of us have also been to the playoffs so I think at the end of the day, we just got to fight. This was a bad loss and I said when I came to the locker room ‘they just disrespected us.’ They punched us and we ain’t punching back, that’s how I felt the whole night.”
The Lakers not only need to feel a sense of desperation, but they also need to have some pride and not let their season end on such a sour note. They still have a chance to steal this series away from the Suns, but they’ll need back-to-back wins to do it, with one of those coming in Phoenix.
It’s unclear what Davis’ status will be in Game 6, but perhaps him being in there will give the Lakers a sense of urgency against a motivated Suns team.
Morris explains what Lakers miss without Davis
Davis is one of the best players in the NBA, so his absence is felt very clearly. Morris discussed what specifically they missed and what they can do better if he cannot go in Game 6. “Obviously his defensive presence and his scoring because we still have a hard time scoring. So just his all-around game, he’s a big part of this team and it showed tonight.
“We just got to be aggressive. We have to find that sense of desperation that has not hit this team I feel like this season. Being down 3-2, our back against the wall, last game of the season possibly, it would be a good time to show that championship DNA. We just got to fight, man.”
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