LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – Sometimes numbers don’t always tell the whole story of a game or a contest. In this day and age where analytics rule the roost, numbers can be just part of a story. Anthony Davis dropped 34 points on the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of a first-round series the Los Angeles Lakers are currently engaged in with their Pacific Division rivals.
“He responds to games like Game 1. He’s not a guy who talks about it; he’s about it,” said LeBron James. “He goes out and do it. So, give him the ball early, often and always.”
After improving his scoring output from Game 1 by 21 points in which he scored only 13 in the series-opening loss to the Suns, Davis led the Lakers to a hard-fought 109-102 win.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 26, 2021
“We’re getting better each game,” said Davis, who also added 10 rebounds and seven assists to his stat totals for the night. “We’re still figuring things out, still, you know, figuring out the rotations. [Montrezl Harrell] Trez didn’t play tonight; Markieff[Morris] did…This is how it’s going to be. And the good thing about it, we can do that. We can do that because we’ve got a lot of guys who can play in these types of situations.”
Game 3 and Game 4 of the series will be played at STAPLES Center. With the victory, the Lakers did what many thought they would do, and that was to win. The Lakers did that. But did they really have a choice? Coming into Game 2 and down in the series 0-1, the Lakers knew they could not afford to leave Phoenix down by two games in this series.
Davis was not the only one to shine in this game for the Lakers. Dennis Schroder got it going offensively. Center Andre Drummond (15 points, 12 rebounds) established his presence in the paint. And Lebron James (23 points, 9 assists) played his usual all-around brilliant game. After being outrebounded in Game 1, the Lakers took over that mantle in Game 2, gaining a 39-31 edge on the boards.
“I think we were the aggressors at the beginning of the game,” Drummond said. “We played the way we were supposed to play. We didn’t allow them to get into a rhythm early and the game kind of took care of itself from there.”
With that said, this series is not going to be one where the Lakers are going to roll through the Suns like hot water cornbread coming out of the oven. As great as all those individual efforts that made the Lakers’ win a necessary one in the team’s drive to repeat as NBA champions, this victory tells a bigger story.
Game 2 Moves pic.twitter.com/Esulluxw7J
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 26, 2021
When the Lakers basically skipped their way to a 16-5 run to win the franchise’s 17th title, it almost seemed like it was a forgone conclusion that was bound to come to pass after a dominant regular season. In case people forgot, the Lakers had their way against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, James Harden and Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets before stepping all over Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.
It’s apparent by now, even after two games of playing against the Suns and after beating the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament, a second title wave won’t be an easy walk in the park for James, Davis, and the rest of the Lakers crew.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this series with a stubborn and rugged Phoenix team is going to max out whatever effort the Lakers need to utilize in order to be victorious. Watching Phoenix in this playoff series has almost felt like watching those creepy spiders in Arachnophobia.
They won’t go away. This win by the Lakers felt hard. Too hard. It took a lot of effort on the part of the Lakers to win. But that’s playoff basketball. It’s not supposed to be easy. Playing basketball in the postseason is more about grit and substance than flash and dash.
Even with the Suns playing short-handed with an injured Chris Paul (22 minutes), who forced to sit most of the game because of an injured shoulder, it took a near-herculean effort by James and Davis at the end of the game to seal the deal.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 26, 2021
Even with Phoenix star shooting guard Devin Booker having a very quiet 31 points (7 of 17 field-goal attempts), the game felt like a tug-o-war throughout, minus the 15-point lead the Lakers took in the third quarter.
If the first two games of the series were to say something it would probably be that the ending is going to be better than the start. And what basketball fans have witnessed in those first two contests was high-level basketball between both teams.
The Lakers are the champs until someone is bad enough to knock that chip off their shoulder. With Paul (bad shoulder or not) riding shotgun with the shooting acumen of Booker, the Suns are going to be a hard out. Period. And it looks like every game is going to be played with a pulling tooth-and-nail attitude.
Even though the Suns, which posted the second-best record in the league, are making their first playoff appearance since 2010, they play with no fear. The Lakers know what that feels like. They’ve already been there and back.
“Obviously, this is a great team we’re playing, even short-handed, you know with CP3 [Chris Paul] limited…didn’t play in fourth [quarter], they’re still getting great play from all their guys,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “This is a team with the second-best record in the NBA. So it’s not goi0ng to be a situation where it’s easy to knock them out in any game.”
Featured Image Caption: Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks against Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)