PHOENIX SUNS

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith picks the Suns to win series vs. Lakers

May 31, 2021, 12:42 PM | Updated: 1:21 pm
MAY 30: during the second half of Game Four of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at...
MAY 30: during the second half of Game Four of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Staples Center on May 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The first round matchup between the Suns and Lakers is tied at 2-2 and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes that Suns will defeat Los Angeles and advance to the second next round.

On Monday’s edition of First Take, Smith said that with Anthony Davis battling a strained groin, he is going with the Phoenix Suns to win the first round vs. the Lakers.

“With Anthony Davis and that groin injury, obviously is a very sensitive and very tender issue. And as a result of that, I don’t know who’s expecting him to be back,” Smith said. “And meanwhile, CP3 is literally making plays, making signature shots, and then looking into the cameras and saying, ‘I’m back’.”

In Game 1 of the series, point guard Chris Paul sustained a right shoulder contusion that was later reported as a stinger and has been battling to get back to being 100% against the Lakers.

Backup point guard Cam Payne has been filling in nicely for Paul as he is averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 24.3 minutes off the bench.

Smith went on to say that he has been impressed with Payne as Paul looks to get back to full strength for the Suns.

Suns’ center Deandre Ayton has been performing well in his first taste of playoff basketball for Phoenix and Smith has taken notice of that.

“I can’t say enough about Deandre Ayton because he’s a big boy who’s playing big. He’s a dude that is walking around, and he’s giving you 20 and 10 a night.

Throughout his first four playoff games for Phoenix, Ayton is putting up 19.8 points per game, 13.5 rebounds per game and 1.0 blocks per game against the Lakers.

Even with the series being tied at two games a piece, it seems as though the tide has shifted in Phoenix’s favor.

“The Los Angeles Lakers are in a world of trouble because Phoenix is younger, they’re fresher, they can run more,” Smith alluded to on First Take.

Smith added that when it comes down to key matchups in the series, he is giving the advantage to the Suns.

“Now it comes down to certain components. Do you have floor generalship? In CP3, yes, you do. Do you have a star that can deliver the goods from the perimeter? In Devin Booker, yes, you do.

“Do you have a big man that is better than average, that can go out and give you 20 and 10 a night and make his presence felt. Whether it’s scoring, it’s rebounding. It’s a nice combination of both. Do you have that? Yes. And do you have coaching? Yes.”

On the other side of the court, Stephen A. doesn’t see LeBron James and the Lakers with much of a shot in this first round matchup between Phoenix unless Davis somehow gets healthy soon.

“Without Anthony Davis, (James) doesn’t have a reliable, dependable weapon to finish for him while he’s trying to control pace. It’s a problem. I’m going to tell you right now unless Anthony Davis gets healthy. The Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James specifically will be going home for the first round.”

Phoenix Suns

Credit: @cedceballos / Twitter...
Nicholas Hodell

Former Suns F Cedric Ceballos says he is COVID-19 free, but still in ICU

Former NBA player Cedric Ceballos tweeted on Sunday that he is COVID-19 free, but also that he is still recovering in an intensive care unit.
4 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Associated Press

Tech data shows Arizona’s busy sports gambling activity

"Arizona ... had more wagered online than mature states like Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee at the FanDuel Sportsbook,” a spokesman said.
5 days ago
Images of the FanDuel sportsbook inside Footprint Center. (Photo by luiscolato.com)...
Associated Press

What to know as legal sports gambling begins in Arizona

Which in-person betting services are open Thursday? What other sportsbooks are still coming? And how did Arizona get here?
9 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Arizona Sports

Suns release images of FanDuel sportsbook at Footprint Center as betting opens in Arizona

See pictures inside the Phoenix Suns FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center. Legalized betting opens in Arizona on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.
9 days ago
...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Devin Booker featured on Kicks Magazine cover

Devin Booker studies the details. And in reading the featured story for SLAM's latest edition of KICKS Magazine, fans can get a sense of that.
10 days ago
United States' Javale McGee takes a rest during a men's basketball practice at the Tokyo 2020 Olymp...
Kellan Olson

JaVale McGee visualized himself on Suns while watching NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee was at a Finals game in Phoenix and was able to see where he could potentially play a role.
10 days ago
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith picks the Suns to win series vs. Lakers