The Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 4 at home as the Phoenix Suns claimed a 100-92 victory.
The series is now knotted at 2-2 with Game 5 occurring in Phoenix.
Los Angeles looked sloppy from the opening tipoff. They finally made some 3-pointers, a huge struggle for the team in the first three games, but couldn’t muster quality looks at the paint.
The Lakers took it up a notch in the early stages of the second quarter, opening up an 11-point lead with LeBron James throwing down big dunks and Ben McLemore getting involved with 3-pointers.
However, as Phoenix fought back, Anthony Davis went down with a left groin strain towards the end of the half and wouldn’t return for the rest of the game.
Phoenix outscored L.A. 27-15 in the third quarter, putting them in prime position to steal a game on the road. Though Los Angeles attempted a comeback to make it a single-digit deficit, Phoenix’s defense came through to seal the win.
Here are three takeaways from Game 4:
Anthony Davis’ status going forward
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Though Davis didn’t have a good outing in the minutes he did play, his unavailability in the second half gave all the momentum back to Phoenix. The Lakers turned to Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell to see if they could bestow any offense, but both plans failed. Game 5 will have big stakes for both teams. Whoever wins will be just one win away from advancing to the next round, and as the Lakers have played without Davis in form, it’s uncertain if they’ll have enough offense to overcome his absence.
Chris Paul looked healthy again
https://twitter.com/TheSanjeshSingh/status/1399110284871016450?s=20 Making matters worse for L.A., Chris Paul bounced back to have a big performance in Game 4. The shoulder injury he suffered in Game 1 severely limited his prowess on both ends, but that was not the case this time. Paul finished the game with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, nine assists, three rebounds and three steals. One of those steals came in the final minutes of the fourth quarter during Los Angeles’ last run. A healthy Paul plus an injured Davis is a disastrous equation for the Lakers’ chances.
Marc Gasol supplied a big game off the bench
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Both before Davis’ injury and after it, Marc Gasol came to play off the bench. Head coach Frank Vogel called upon the former Defensive Player of the Year to improve the defense and stretch the floor on offense. Gasol did just that, despite the loss. He finished with 12 points (3-of-5 on 3-pointers), eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal in 23 minutes. He made timely buckets when the Lakers needed it the most, and his three blocks helped clog the paint, especially with Paul looking to carve out the Lakers’ interior defense. If Los Angeles pulled out a win, Gasol would’ve been at the heart of it.