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Los Angeles Lakers blown out by Phoenix Suns in Sport 5, one loss from elimination

PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Lakers‘ repeat title hopes are on life assist after Tuesday’s 115-85 shellacking by the Phoenix Suns in Sport 5 of their Western Convention first-round sequence, placing L.A. one loss away from elimination.

“We’ll discover out what we’re product of, and we’ll learn the way dangerous we wish this,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated afterward when requested how his crew will reply in Sport 6.

With Anthony Davis sidelined because of a strained groin, the Suns used a 16-0 run within the first quarter to take management of the sport and saved the floodgates open from there.

The Lakers had been outscored 32-10 within the second quarter and trailed 66-36 on the half. The 30-point margin represented the biggest halftime deficit of LeBron James‘ postseason profession and the second-largest halftime deficit within the playoff historical past of the Lakers franchise.

It is usually the primary time in James’ profession that his crew has misplaced two consecutive video games in a first-round sequence. His 14-0 document in first-round playoff sequence is in peril, except L.A. can win two consecutive video games to shut issues out, beginning with Sport 6 on Thursday at Staples Heart.

“We received our ass kicked. It is simply that easy,” James stated. “They received to no matter they wished to get to on this recreation. We received to be higher, clearly, if we need to drive a Sport 7.”

Regardless of the importance of the problem that the seventh-seeded Lakers are actually dealing with in opposition to the second-seeded Suns, they do have James on their facet, whose common of 33.7 factors per recreation in postseason elimination video games is the very best in NBA historical past.

“I imply, it is actually win or go residence at that time,” James stated when requested what has allowed him to persistently carry out in that state of affairs. “So, you shoot all of the bullets you bought and throw the gun too. So, I sit up for the surroundings.

“Clearly, our Laker devoted are going to offer us quite a lot of power, and I sit up for the second, sit up for the problem, and we’ll see if it brings out the most effective in me and my teammates.”

On Tuesday, the Lakers had been at their worst. The sport was out of attain earlier than halftime, because the Suns opened the second quarter with a 21-2 spurt to pile on their eight-point lead after the primary quarter.

“They simply took the combat to us, man,” stated Markieff Morris, who began in Davis’ place however completed the night time with simply 4 factors and one rebound in 10 minutes. “I really feel like we began the sport off a bit hesitant. We would have liked all people to be aggressive with out AD within the recreation. I really feel like we had been actually passive early on. I really feel like we weren’t attacking them. They had been attacking us.”

By the point the second quarter was over, the blowout was in full impact, with Devin Booker already single-handedly outscoring the Lakers’ starters 22-16; Phoenix outrebounding L.A. 23-18; the Lakers coughing up eight turnovers, main to fifteen Phoenix factors (in comparison with only one turnover for the Suns); and L.A. capturing 3-for-15 from 3-point vary (20%), as in contrast with Phoenix capturing 8-for-18 (44.4%).

James completed with 24 factors on 9-for-19 capturing (6-for-10 from 3) and 7 assists, scoring 17 of these factors within the third quarter, when he performed all however 17 seconds and L.A. outscored the Suns 27-26. James and the remainder of the Lakers’ first unit didn’t play within the fourth.

James and Davis did not even end the sport on the bench, heading to the locker room to start their therapy about halfway via the ultimate quarter.

“What was going via my thoughts was, ‘They’re kicking our ass,'” James stated when requested what he and Davis had been considering as the ultimate minutes ticked off the clock whereas they had been within the locker room. “However on the finish of the day, it is one recreation. It is one recreation, they usually did what they had been presupposed to do. They held serve at residence, and we return and we’ve a possibility to even the sequence again out once more. That was actually the 2 issues that had been occurring in my thoughts.”

Exterior of James, lots of the Lakers struggled mightily. Dennis Schroder went 0-for-9 (0-for-4 from 3) for zero factors, whereas Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed the one shot he took in quarter-hour of motion earlier than his sore left knee ended his night time prematurely. Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews and Ben McLemore mixed to shoot 3-for-18.

“I do not even know if I am watching movie on that one,” Schroder stated. “I believe we received to flush that one, keep constructive and be higher in Sport 6.”

Morris, however, believed {that a} movie session will likely be essential in L.A.’s recreation prep for Thursday.

“I believe we received to look at the tape as a result of the tape would not lie,” he stated. “It will present our [lack of a] sense of urgency … [us] not caring, our lack of combat. … I believe we have to present that, simply to know that the subsequent recreation we play like this, this s— is over. All we labored for, all we have been via all yr, it is over. I believe we’ve to, simply to place it in our heads that that is it.

“There isn’t any extra. If we lose one other one, speaking about what we may have did, what we must always’ve finished. That is it.”

L.A. will look to keep away from turning into the sixth defending champ in league historical past to lose within the first spherical of the playoffs the next season — a bunch that features the 2015 San Antonio Spurs, 2012 Dallas Mavericks, 2007 Miami Heat, 2000 Spurs and 1984 Philadelphia 76ers.

The Lakers do not know whether or not they’ll have Davis again from his groin damage in Sport 6, both. James stated he’s approaching Thursday’s outing as if he will not have Davis on the court docket.

“My mindset is that he is not gonna be capable of play in Sport 6. That is my mindset,” James stated. “And if one thing adjustments, then we go from there. However I am making ready as if he is not.”

Requested what provides his crew confidence that the Lakers can lengthen the sequence, contemplating the Suns seemingly have all of the momentum in the meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma was succinct.

“I believe we simply received our ass kicked. We received disrespected on the market,” he stated. “So I believe that ought to be sufficient to offer us some.”

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