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Though Devin Booker’s 34-point performance and Deandre Ayton’s 21-point, 16-rebound performance headlined the Lakers’ loss, much of Los Angeles’ struggles could be pointed to self-inflicted woes.
One of the overarching woes involved Anthony Davis’ performance. Davis, who dominated the Suns earlier in May en route to a 42-point, 12-rebound, 5-assist, 3-steal and 3-block outing, became a shell of himself.
Davis played 39 minutes but for large stretches of the game, he didn’t leave an imprint with his usual dominant interior presence accompanied with a deadly mid-range game.
His shooting woes resulted in a 13-point game on 5-of-16 shooting, along with seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
With Ayton being Phoenix’s only notable big man that can use his size to match up against Davis, it was surprising that L.A. couldn’t get Davis’ momentum churning.
After the game, Davis took full accountability for his dismal outing, saying he’ll improve for the next game, via Mike Trudell of the Lakers.
LeBron James, who went for 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, expressed confidence in Davis following up with an enhanced Game 2, saying the big man makes the Lakers a better team when he shows force.
After Ayton’s efficient and dominant performance, the Lakers need to respond with Davis returning to form for the rest of the series.
He showed he could do it once, and that game didn’t feature James or Dennis Schroder, who scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting Sunday.
If AD can come out aggressive for all four quarters in Game 2, the Lakers have a larger shot at stealing a game on the road before the series heads back to Staples Center.