The series between the Los Angeles Lakers and shifted back to the desert all tied up at two, making Game 5 a pivotal one. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they were without one of their stars in Anthony Davis after suffering a strained groin in Game 4.
The result was a Suns win, which could have been expected. The fashion in which they got the win was unexpected though as the Lakers rolled over from the jump and were blown out in embarrassing fashion, losing 115-85.
Markieff Morris got the start in place of Davis and hit a 3-pointer to start things off, while LeBron James scored the next five points to give the Lakers an 8-5 lead. However, Los Angeles’ offense began to bog down as role players passed up open looks while Phoenix and Devin Booker went on a 14-0 run to take control.
Alex Caruso ended the scoring drought with a corner 3-pointer, and a Kyle Kuzma runner cut the deficit to six. However, Booker torched the Lakers from every spot on the floor and as a result, they went into the second trailing 34-26.
Even with Booker on the bench to start the second, Los Angeles failed to make up any ground as Cameron Payne took his turn burning the defense. Everything then went wrong for the Lakers as they could not buy a call from the officials, hit an open shot, or stop the Suns offense.
Looking for a spark, head coach Frank Vogel turned to Ben McLemore and Talen Horton-Tucker but nothing seemed to work. In what turned into their worst half of basketball of the 2020-21 season, the Purple and Gold would head into halftime down 66-36.
Marc Gasol and Caruso started the second half in place of Drummond and Morris, respectively, but the Suns continued to pour it on from beyond the arc. To make matters worse, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was ruled out for the remainder of the game due to the left knee injury he has been nursing.
Chris Paul then exited the game when it looked like he re-aggravated his right shoulder after Wesley Matthews attempted to box him out on a missed shot. James tried to jumpstart the Lakers with his outside shooting, but the team still stared down a 92-63 hole going into the final period.
With L.A. down big, Vogel turned to the end of the bench as Alfonzo McKinnie and Montrezl Harrell got their first minutes of the night. Despite the reserves still battling, the Lakers walked out of Phoenix Suns Arena with an embarrassing loss.
The series now shifts back to L.A. for Game 6 in what will be the Lakers’ first elimination game. Regardless of if Davis plays or not, everyone will have to come out with a lot more intensity if they want to force a winner-take-all Game 7.
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