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Game 4 Preview: Suns need to get back to playing their game

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To play like one of the top teams in the league again, the Suns have to manage their tempers and hit some shots.

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers

When: 12:30 p.m. MST

Where: Staples Center

Watch: ABC

Listen: 98.7 FM


In a must win game for the Suns, the turnovers and missed shots need to take a back seat to a great game-plan and a comfortable flow to the offense.

The Lakers defense that can be a leagues best when healthy and when they care, like now, is an irritant to the Suns, and must be over thrown if there is any chance of tying the series up 2-2.

A couple days off between game three and game four, gives the Suns extended time to look at tape and to figure out an offense without Chris Paul IF he is not at least 85% healthy. What we heard from Monty Williams after practice is that things are still up in the air about Paul and if he will feel any better by tip-off in todays matchup.


Injury Update

Suns: Chris Paul (questionable), Abdel Nader (out)

Lakers: Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (questionable)

LeBron and the Lakers

It his hard to watch and admit that Lakers LeBron James knows what he is doing and is mapping out the playoffs. There were many questions surrounding the Lakers and their Health going into the first round playoff matchup, but now that we are in the midst of things, you can see on LeBron’s face that he has the Suns right where he wants them.

After hitting the age of 30, the older LeBron gets, the more he relies on a mental attack heading into playoff series. Big and physical of course, he will use his gigantic body to do what he wants, but the weight that he can throw on the opposing teams shoulders by just having the name LeBron is where he leans his ability.

There are the mistakes leading to large amounts of turnovers and missed shots, showing us that they might be scared of LeBron. Even when he is taking a half off, just the presence of him on the court can be as pesky as a Bruce Bowen stepping under your feet when taking a jump shot. He remains in the Suns minds, even if we or they never admit it.

Ayton and the Suns

The most impressive player in the series for the Suns is Deandre Ayton. Will the Suns look to feed him the ball more and let him work? I hope not, because Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Devin Booker need to have solid all-around games to defeat the Lakers in game four.

Ayton has done enough by just showing the effort and correct decision making within the first three games of the series. The rest of the starters, excluding Paul, need to step up to take back the series.

After yesterdays practice, Ayton was asked of the sense of desperation and urgency heading into todays matchup. Ayton responded, “Dramatic type of desperation to be honest. We know what we have to do. We know how we played last game, and we had enough time to get in the lab to straighten up and sharpen up some things.”

The two days off were much needed, and this Suns team will be as prepared as they can be before game four.

Paul’s injury is a major factor for the Suns, and when his impact on the floor is not felt, the leadership can still be heard from the bench. Ayton explained, “He (Paul) points out the little things. Things that will hurt us in the long run.”

That is what you could see from the Suns in the last two games. A sense of urgency and mistakes that cost them any kind of run to get back into games. The way that LeBron can break down a game and control the ball, the same can be said for Paul.


Prediction

Growth does not happen over a couple days span, but a miracle can. After the 2021 NBA playoffs are over, and we head into the off-season, that is the chance for growth. The Suns currently are not dead in the water but the chances that they can adjust to this Lakers team will take a miracle. The shots that go up from three need to fall at a 40% clip to have a chance. I believe that they will.

Suns 121, Lakers 109