In one of the most anticipated first round matchups this NBA season, we have the Los Angeles Lakers vs the Phoenix Suns.
This should be fun 🍿 pic.twitter.com/DvuwyWmJ9T
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 20, 2021
The Lakers are the defending champions, but you wouldn’t know by their seed.
They had a rough time dealing with the injuries of Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
This led to a play-in game against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Luckily, the Lakers were able to win and grab the seventh seed.
Now it is time to face off with the second-seeded Suns.
They are new to the playoff scene, but not Chris Paul.
Chris Paul has changed their culture and has them playing their best basketball since 2010.
People believe the Lakers have a real shot against the Suns, but why is that?
Here are the three reasons why the Lakers could upset the Suns.
The biggest claim for this Lakers team has been their defense.
They finished with the best overall defense in the NBA this season.
For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the Lakers finish with the league's top-ranked defense 🔒 pic.twitter.com/q6yC2Hu4oS
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 18, 2021
This was done without their best defensive player being healthy for most of the season.
However, they were able to play great team defense throughout the year.
The Lakers were second in points allowed, eighth in opponents field goal percentage, and fourth in opponents three point percentage.
Their defense will be the calling card for them against this Suns team.
The Suns offense is led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
They need to be prepared for this suffocating defense.
2. Lakers Championship Pedigree
The Lakers have the edge in experience by a mile.
Most of the players on this team have won a title, whether it was with the Lakers or another team.
They know how to adjust to the playoff atmosphere.
However, the Suns do not have that luxury.
Other than Paul and Jae Crowder, no one on the team has played in a meaningful NBA game.
The Lakers are the defending champs for a reason.
Teams are still scared of them; even though they are the seventh seed and seem vulnerable.
There were multiple teams trying to not have them in the first round, or even on their side of the bracket.
The pedigree is definitely a real factor.
1. They Have the Best Player
The best player in a playoff series usually wins the matchup.
The Lakers not only have that, but they also might have the two best players in the series.
AD and Lebron are two phenomenal players and are fully healthy once again.
Lebron in the playoffs is a scary sight.
Even in the play-in game, Lebron went into playoff mode with another clutch performance.
His clutch play in important games has become second nature.
— theScore (@theScore) May 20, 2021
The Suns have to be fearful of this unbelievable duo.
It is hard to stop them both, which is why they won the title last year very easily.
Lebron has also never lost a first round series.
Regardless of the seventh seed tag, the Lakers have a great chance of beating the Suns in the first round.