The defending champs scored just 90 points on their way to nine-point loss on the road in the opening contest against the No. 2 seed. LeBron James had 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds but Anthony Davis struggled, going 6-for-15 with 13 points and seven boards. He took just five free-throw attempts and ended with a game-low, -18 point-differential.
Meanwhile, the Suns looked sharp in their first playoff appearance since the 2009-10 season. Devin Booker shined bright in his postseason debut, scoring 34 points while tallying seven rebounds and eight assists. The 24-year-old rising star got a huge boost from 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, who went 10-of-11 for 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The Suns won the important matchups in Game 1, dominating the Lakers on the boards and limiting the impact of Anthony Davis. Stephen A. Smith weighed in on how Phoenix got the job done and said how the defending champs will be in trouble if adjustments aren’t made.
“I picked the Lakers to win in seven games but it wouldn’t surprise me at all in Phoenix won. They’re younger, they’re spry, they have a superstar in Devin Booker. In his first playoff game, he was the best player on the court. It wasn’t LeBron, it wasn’t Anthony Davis, it’s Devin Booker,” Smith said in an appearance on Get Up on Monday.
“What is going to usurp Phoenix in anyway is LeBron and AD. It really just comes down to that. If Deandre Ayton neutralizes Anthony Davis in anyway or negates what he’s doing because he’s matching what Anthony Davis brings to the table, Phoenix is going to win this series. In order for the Lakers to win this series, Anthony Davis is going to have to be dominant.”
"[Devin Booker] was the best player on the court. It wasn't LeBron, it wasn't Anthony Davis, it's Devin Booker."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 24, 2021
Davis will need to turn things around as soon as possible, or else the Lakers will head back to Staples Center down 2-0. The All Star big man was nearly unguardable in last year’s title run, so will need to find that form again to help LeBron carry the group through the postseason.
Game 2 between the Suns and the Lakers will tip-off at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The game will air on TNT.