Los Angeles (USA), Jun 1 (EFE) .- The Phoenix Suns humiliated the Los Angeles Lakers (115-85) on Tuesday to get 3-2 in their series and put the current NBA champions at brink of elimination in the first round of the playoffs.
The Suns had a dream night in which they tore apart the defending champions without any response from LeBron James.
A memorable Devin Booker, with 30 points (13 of 23 in shots without playing the fourth quarter) and 7 rebounds, captained the beating of some Suns who were already winning by thirty points at halftime.
Along with Booker, Cameron Payne shone (16 points and 4 rebounds), although much of the success of the very coral team led by Monty Williams lay in the excellent defense that liquidated the Los Angeles offense with a stroke of the pen.
The Phoenix men dominated every facet of the game with impressive team chemistry.
The only bad news for the Suns was the injury of Chris Paul, who had already suffered physical problems in this tie and who left the game in the third quarter.
In the Lakers, who were no rival for the Suns at any time, the only one who showed his face was LeBron James with 24 points (9 of 19 in shooting), 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
The Lakers were depressed by the absence of the injured Anthony Davis, but that was no excuse for an evening in which no one stepped forward to escort James.
Marc Gasol contributed 5 points (one of one in triples), 3 rebounds and an assist off a loose ball in 10 minutes.
The Lakers will have to radically change their face for Thursday, as a loss in the sixth game of the series will send them home much earlier than expected one of the great contenders for the ring this season.
A MIRROR BEFORE THE HURRICANE
All roads to victory for the Lakers went through LeBron James, who from the beginning assumed a central role in the Angelenos’ offense.
Five straight points from the Lakers star contributed to an intense start from the visitors in both attack and defense.
But the Suns weren’t nervous.
Devin Booker was an instant threat from the perimeter and, with a triple by Jae Crowder, the Phoenix team made it clear that they were going to put up a lot of war (10-10 with 6.50 left).
Marc Gasol then entered the match but had a thorny welcome from Booker, who took a basket with an additional one as soon as he stepped on the court.
The inspiration of the Lakers suddenly disappeared and no one appeared to give James a break, a circumstance that the Suns took advantage of with a great 14-0 run, based on a strong defense, to set off the alarms in the purple and gold ( 19-10 in the absence of 5.06).
But the worst sign for the Lakers was the form of Booker, absolutely intractable with 18 points for an almost perfect first quarter for the locals (34-26).
The Californian nightmare continued in the second quarter with an incandescent Cameron Payne for a 6-0 start (40-26 with 10.37 left).
Disconnected from the game and without any sign of reaction, the Lakers gradually sank into a spiral of errors, inaccuracies and bad decisions.
Willing to squeeze every second of the Los Angeles depression, Chris Paul hit a front triple with 7.23 to go that took the lead to an astonishing difference (48-27).
The reigning NBA champion was fading like sugar and a triple by Crowder caused the Suns, as incredibly as they deserved, to nearly double the Lakers midway through the second quarter (55-28 with 5.29 left).
At the end of a first half for the history of the Suns, with 16,000 totally euphoric fans in the stands, the Phoenix team led by 30 points (66-36) after ruthlessly destroying the Lakers (54% shooting and 44% triples) and punish, with a very tight defense, the practically zero production from the perimeter of their rivals (20% in shots of three).
LIFE GOES ON
If any Lakers supporter dreamed of a miraculous comeback, their illusions soon went to waste.
The game continued in the resumption exactly as it had been in the first half with some Suns touched by the gods.
The frustration of Frank Vogel’s ensemble spread without remedy despite James’ cast of chaste and anger.
But nothing was going well for the Lakers, who stared in amazement at the display of a scoring machine called Booker (92-63).
The last quarter did not have the presence of any of the starters and the reserves of both teams finalized the process to the glory of the Suns and the shame of the Lakers.
The series now returns to Los Angeles, where a sixth game will be played on Thursday that could be final if the Suns win.
(c) EFE Agency