The offense was ice cold and the Suns could never find their rhythm in tonight’s loss to the Lakers. Los Angeles smelled blood early in the 2nd half and padded themselves with enough of a lead to within a late run led by Cameron Payne.
Devin Booker struggled to find his groove offensively as he finished with just 19 points on 19 field-goal attempts and had 4 turnovers. Jae Crowder’s cold shooting continued and none of the role players outside of Cam Payne rose to the occasion. The frustration boiled over there at the end and let things get out of hand to close the game. Expect Game 4 to be just as, if not more intense.
All things considered, if Phoenix takes Game 4 they regain the home-court advantage and will take that momentum with them to Phoenix for Game 5.
The game kicked off with a very interesting challenge from Frank Vogel on a Jae Crowder three-pointer that was ruled a foul on Anthony Davis. The head-scratching challenge was ultimately unsuccessful and Crowder went on to nail all three free throws.
It was an extremely sloppy start offensively for both sides, and while some credit should be given to the defensive effort, it was mostly just ugly basketball. Jae Crowder’s shooting slump continued as he went 0-for-4 in the first half from deep.
Deandre Ayton continued his torrid start, posting 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting with 6 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal in the first half of action.
Chris Paul looked much better in the first half than he did in Game 2, hitting a couple of mid-range jumpers and showing an improved range of motion on his dribble and for passes as well.
Phoenix was outrebounded by 10 in the first 24 minutes of action, which is expected with the smaller lineups and the lack of a true secondary rebounder on the floor to compliment Ayton.
The Suns scored 12 points in the 2nd quarter. 12.
The cold shooting continued in the third period as Phoenix struggled to build any momentum.
The easy target for this one was Jae Crowder due to his struggles from deep all series long. Shooting 1-for-20 from three is not ideal.
Jae Crowder is shooting 5.8% from 3 in the playoffs so far.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) May 28, 2021
Phoenix got abused in the interior both on the glass and on points in the paint, as they fell victim to the bully ball from Los Angeles. Dario Saric did not see a minute and Frank Kaminsky played 7 minutes to no avail.
Torrey Craig provided quality minutes, hitting a trio of timely threes during their scoring drought. He posted 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 threes in 15 minutes of action.
Suns trying to get hot pic.twitter.com/MQEwn7XoJU— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) May 28, 2021
Cameron Payne went on a solo 9-0 run to cut the lead down to 12 and force a Los Angeles timeout. Phoenix tried a late-game rally but it wasn’t enough as they dug themselves into too deep of a hole.
The Lakers closed the game out at the free-throw line after a Devin Booker flagrant 2 foul and Jae Crowder ejection after things got extremely chippy. It was just not the Suns’ night.
Game 4 is now in must-win territory, obviously.— Zona (@AZSportsZone) May 28, 2021
Sink or swim time for the young Suns. Someone other than Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne needs to rise to the occasion. If not they can start planning their trips to Cabo.
Star of the Game
Deandre Ayton- 22 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 11/15 FG.
Suns at Lakers (Game 4) — Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.
It’s not over yet, but Game 4 is now do-or-die time.