NBA Odds, Preview, Prediction for Lakers vs. Suns Game 5: Can Los Angeles Win Without Anthony Davis? (Tuesday, June 1)
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James.
- The Lakers hit the road, likely without one of their superstars for a key Game 5 against the Suns.
- Anthony Davis' likely absence from Game 5 has Phoenix favored and caused a 12-point swing from Game 4's closing line.
- Joe Dellera breaks down whether that's too much and delivers his best bet for the game below.
Lakers vs. Suns Odds
|Moneyline||+190 / -235|
|Time||Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday and via DraftKings|
The Phoenix Suns evened the series in Sunday’s Game 4 and now head home to take on the Los Angeles Lakers, who likely will be without Anthony Davis.
Can the Suns capitalize on this opportunity, or will LeBron James lead his team to victory in a high-stakes Game 5?
Let’s break it down.
How Big Is Davis’ Absence?
Davis is listed as doubtful, and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Monday that he’s unlikely to play in Game 5. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is also listed as questionable but he’s mentioned that he feels “fine” and “much better.” Keep an eye on his status using our Fantasy Labs Insiders Tool.
The Lakers struggled without Davis in Game 4, but that’s not necessarily been the case this season as a whole. As long as James has played, the Lakers were 11-7 straight up, but one of those losses came to Phoenix on March 2.
Davis’ impact is tough to properly quantify. The Lakers have been 5.2 points better with him on the floor this season, but his absence is mitigated as long as James was on the floor. With James on the court and Davis off it, the Lakers posted a +7.1 point differential per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. What’s extremely problematic is Los Angeles’ minutes with both superstars off the floor, during which it’s -3.1 points per 100.
The Lakers obviously are better with both of their superstars on the floor, but with James’ ability to get the most out of his teammates, you can’t count this Lakers team out just yet.
I’d expect to see more minutes out of not only James, but Alex Caruso and Marc Gasol. Caruso was an absolute menace defensively against Devin Booker. Caruso put up a +8 in 29 minutes in Game 4, despite the Lakers losing by eight points. Gasol has seen his role slip in head coach Frank Vogel’s rotations, but with their backs against a wall, Vogel may look to the Spanish big man to help on defense and to serve as an offensive facilitator.
Suns Still Have Offensive Concern
Chris Paul certainly looked spry in Game 4 after nursing a shoulder injury he suffered in Game 1. Paul is currently listed as probable but is fully expected to play.
The Suns controlled the majority of Game 4, but the Lakers made a late push to close the final deficit to just eight points. Los Angeles did this by forcing 15 turnovers, including 12 steals. The Lakers’ defense was excellent, and the Suns were able to push in transition on 25% of their plays.
The concerning issue here is the Suns still are shooting just 33% from 3-point range, and even though this is not a shot they take often (36.6% of their looks on the season come from beyond the arc) it can make it difficult to pull away against the defending champs.
Phoenix will need to maximize its efficiency on the interior through Deandre Ayton or work to free up Booker and improve its spacing moving forward.
Despite the injury to Davis, I’m not convinced that this line should have moved so dramatically. The Lakers still held the Suns to 100 points on Sunday, and Phoenix has only averaged 99 per game this series.
The Lakers’ shooting was abysmal on Sunday, but they made a stylistic change to their offense and 45% of their shots were from 3 point range, a dramatic increase from their 31.9% rate over the first three games in the series. This may have been due to circumstance, but it likely was intentional.
A classic strategy for James’ teams in the past is to surround him with shooters to spread the floor so he can drive and kick as necessary. With a proper game plan, I think James can attack this Suns’ defense.
The Suns should be favored, but I think this line move was too much from last game. I understand that Davis is likely out, the Lakers are now on the road and Paul looks healthy, but a 12-point swing from Sunday’s closing line of Lakers -6.5 seems drastic for a team that still has an elite defense even without Davis.
I’ll take LeBron and the points here.
Pick: Lakers +6