The Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers collide on Thursday for a pivotal Game 6 that could potentially be decided in their first round Western Conference series. The Suns took the initiative in Game 5 to jump out in front of the defending champions 3-2 after delivering a commanding 115-85 victory. The Lakers are well and truly on the ropes and it follows that Game 6 is a must-win game if they hope to continue their title defense campaign. The question is: do they have anything left in the tank?
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 10:30 PM ET at Staples Center
The Lakers have home advantage for game 6 and as a result, multiple sportsbooks tip the betting odds scale in their favor. However, when the point spread has the Lakers tipped as the 2-point home chalk, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of their chances. In fact, oddsmakers went to press with the Lakers laying three points but since the betting began the public it seems has bet the NBA line down. If that’s not telling, what is?
The NBA Odds
For the third time in this series, the Phoenix Suns are tipped as the underdogs on the NBA odds board. However, they’re riding a two-game winning streak into Game 6 and they’re literally one-win away from advancing into the second round. By the ATS trends, the Suns are the second best team in the league with a 45-30-2 ATS mark and a 5.8 winning margin on average (includes both regular and postseason games). In the postseason, the Suns are 3-2-0 ATS with a 5.2 winning margin on average.
The Lakers are 2-3-0 ATS in this first round series with the Suns, a run of form that includes a 5.2 losing margin on average. They’re also went 0-1-0 ATS in their play-in game after beating Golden State Warriors 103-100 but failing to cover as the 6-point faves. Overall, the Lakers are 34-43-1 ATS on the season (regular and postseason combined) with a 2.3 winning margin on average. The Lakers dropped the last two games by 8 and 30 points respectively for an average losing margin of 19 points.
Suns One Win Away
The Phoenix Suns are one win away from a satisfying victory over the reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers. They took a massive step towards accomplishing the feat on Tuesday night, blowing the Lakers off the court in a 115-85 victory. It’s fair to say, few expected such a commanding victory, not even betting sites as evinced by the closing point spread. The Suns closed as the +4.5 home underdogs across multiple top sportsbooks but they sure made a mockery of it.
Devin Booker had a monster night putting up 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Cameron Payne added 16 points, four rebounds and one assist while Mikal Bridges put up 13 points, six rebounds and three assists and Cameron Johnson added 11 points and three rebounds.
Lakers Playoff Hopes on Life Support
Staring at imminent elimination, the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoffs aspirations hang precariously on the outcome of Game 6. It’s a win-or-done situation that they face when they welcome the Suns to Staples Center. "We'll find out what we're made of, and we'll find out how bad we want this," Lakers coach Frank Vogel mused in the post-game presser as he answered media questions about how the Lakers will respond in Game 6.
As the defending champions, there’s no question the Lakers have the pedigree to turn things around. However, it’s been a challenging season altogether with injuries disrupting the team’s flow on a regular basis, including stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis who missed significant chunks of the season with various injuries.
Indeed, the injury bug seems to have impacted Game 5 especially as with AD side-lined (groin strain) the bulk of the heavy-lifting came down to LeBron James. Inasmuch as LeBron is a game-changer, sometimes things just don’t quite go to plan. LeBron put up 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists but the Lakers were playing catchup right out of the gates. The Suns opened the game with a 16-0 lead and never took the foot off the pedal. They took a whopping 66-36 lead into halftime. So lopsided was the game even LeBron James couldn’t deny it. "We got our ass kicked. It's just that simple."
NBA Predictions and Picks:
LeBron James has a perfect 14-0 SU record in the first round of the playoffs in his career but his unblemished run may be coming to an end in Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns. It happens, streaks inevitably end. Of course, one can bet LeBron James and Co, will be motivated to avoid defeat at the Staples Center, but one wonders whether they have enough in the tank left. It’s been a battle all season long for the Lakers who were forced to play themselves into the playoffs in a play-in game with the Golden State Warriors. Up to this point, there’s been a feeling that the Lakers were playing with house money.
At the same time, one wonders whether the Suns were given enough respect, to begin with. They’ve had the better season and are the higher ranked team based on their results but they’re getting no favors in the betting sites it would seem.
All told, the Lakers could win but the Suns should win Game 6. So, with that in mind, the Suns emerge as the choice bet. They have the momentum going into Game 6 and that underscores their underdogs NBA odds with value that’s impossible to ignore.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.