Two of the top defensive teams in the NBA meet up in this opening-round series between the defending champion #7 Los Angeles Lakers and #2 Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers rallied from a double-digit deficit at halftime to defeat the Warriors in the Seven-Eight Game. LeBron James knocked down a clutch 3-pointer to break a tie and seal a victory and lock up the #7 seed and a date with the Suns.
|NBA PLAYOFFS – Series Odds|
|#7 LA Lakers (42-30) vs #2 Phoenix Suns (51-21)|
|LA Lakers -180||Phoenix Suns -140|
|LA Lakers vs Phoenix Suns – SERIES SCORE|
|Lakers win 4-0||+1000|
|Lakers win 4-1||+590|
|Lakers win 4-2||+290|
|Lakers win 4-3||+400|
|Suns win 4-0||+200|
|Suns win 4-1||+700|
|Suns win 4-2||+700|
|Suns win 4-3||+500|
Even though the Suns are the #2 seed with the second-best record in the Western Conference, they’re consensus underdogs against the Lakers. The Lakers are favorites to pick off the Suns and win the series at -180 odds, according to an update by DraftKings. The Suns are -140 odds to win the series and knock out the defending champion Lakers.
The most-popular series score prop bet is the Lakers defeating the Suns in six games at +290 odds. The Lakers needing the full seven games to beat the Suns is also a popular pro bet at +400 odds.
The Suns prevailing over the Lakers in seven games pays out +500. The Suns beating the Lakers to win the series in five or six games pays out the same wager at +700 odds.
Betting the Suns and Lakers
The LA Lakers and Phoenix Suns met three times during the regular season. The Suns went 2-1 but the Lakers were missing either LeBron or Davis or both players in all three meetings.
The Suns were the second-best team in the NBA covering the spread this season with a 42-28-2 ATS record. The Lakers struggled to beat the point spread with a 32-40-1 ATS record.
The Suns were tough this season because they had a high-scoring offense averaging 115.3 ppg and ranked #7. But they also had a surprisingly stifling defense allowing 107.4 ppg, or ranked #3 overall.
The Suns had the second-best over record at 42-30 this season, but the Lakers had the best under record in the NBA with a 44-28-1 clip.
The Lakers have the second-best defense in the NBA allowing 106.7 ppg, but ranked only #22 in soring with 109.5 ppg.
The Lakers +450 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship or the second-highest team on the futures board behind the Brooklyn Nets. The Suns are +1500 odds to win the title over at DraftKings.
LA Lakers: Repeat quest begins
The Lakers are a dangerous #7 seed because LeBron James is on a mission to defend the title and add back-to-back championships to his legacy despite the high seed. LeBron gets to battle his close pal, Chris Paul, for the first time in the postseason.
LeBron didn’t care about playoff seeding because he knew the Lakers would be ready for anyone in the postseason. On the flip side, none of the lowest seeds wanted to draw the Lakers. Even the LA Clippers seed-tanked at the end of the season to duck an early-round matchup against the Lakers.
Health is the only thing holding back the Lakers. The Lakers are mere mortals when they’re missing LeBron or Anthony Davis. But with a healthy LeBron and AD, they’re contenders. LeBron missed a couple months with a sprained ankle, but looked like his old self during the play-in tournament against the Warriors.
“I’m good,” said LeBron. “That was the most minutes I’ve played in a long time and I didn’t feel anything.”
Dennis Schroder missed the last two weeks of the season for COVID-19 protocols, but the returned for the Seven-Eight Game. Schroder scored 12 points but had a rough night shooting 3-for-14 including 1-for-6 from 3-point range.
— NBA (@NBA) May 20, 2021
Phoenix Suns: Just happy to be here?
Chris Paul gets most of the credit for turning around the Suns, but they had a good team before he arrived. Devin Booker was a sensational player, he just didn’t have someone who could consistently deliver him the rock without committing turnovers. The Suns posted the second-best assists-to-turnover ratio in NBA history since they started keeping track of turnovers in 1977.
Booker (25.6 ppg) can light it up at any given time. Fantasy nerds are aware of his scoring prowess, but now Booker gets a chance to demonstrate his scoring skills for a playoff audience. He’s making his playoffs debut along with DeAndre Ayton (14.4 ppg) and Mikal Bridges (13.5 ppg). The Suns added sharp-shooting playoff veterans Jae Crowder (38.9% 3-point range) and Paul (39.5% 3-pointer) to help out their trio of playoff noobs.
“It’s gonna be super-intense, it’s going to be serious, it’s going to be really a mental focus, not only physical,” said Ayton. “I’m ready to take that next step. That’s what I’ve been waiting for, working for.”
Monty Williams excelled in his first two seasons as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. They only went 34-39 in his first season, but that was a huge improvement from the team that won 19 games the previous season. This season, Williams guided the Suns to a 51-21 record, the #2 seed, and their first playoff berth in 11 seasons. He’s one of the finalists for NBA Coach of the Year, but the players picked them as their choice.
Coming into this season, prognosticators pegged the Suns as a bubble team, but they finished the season with the second-best record in NBA behind the Utah Jazz.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.