Paint Dominance and Tough Defense Keys to Lakers Game 3 Win

Anthony Davis And Lakers Background

    • The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 109-95 in Game 3 of their best-of-seven first round playoff series.
    • Los Angeles dominated the paint, scoring 58 points in the restricted area against Phoenix’s 38 points in the paint.
    • The Lakers defense held the Suns to only 95 points on Friday night with Devin Booker scoring only 19 points.

The Los Angeles Lakers raised eyebrows when they were heavily favored to beat the Phoenix Suns in their first round series. The Lakers struggled to make the playoffs while the Suns finished with the second best record in the league behind the Utah Jazz. On Friday night, the Lakers showed why the best NBA betting sites are still very high on them, beating the Suns 109-95 to take a 2-1 lead in their series.

Lakers Dominated the Paint

The Lakers flat out dominated the Suns in the paint in Game 3. Los Angeles scored 58 points from the paint while allowing the Suns just 38 points from the same area. The defending champions have scored 50+ points in the restricted area in three games over the last two postseasons. The rest of the league has two such games combined during the same period.

LeBron James pounded the Suns interior defense in the third quarter, going 5 of 7 on drives to the basket while scoring 10 points. That was in contrast to Games 1 and 2 when LBJ made just two drives to the basket, scoring once. James had his best game of the series so far with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists.

James and Davis combined to score a total of 28 points during the crucial third period. That ‘s the most number of points that they’ve scored together in a quarter since becoming teammates in Los Angeles. AD finished the game with 34 points on 22 field goal attempts and 14 free throw shots taken, another aggressive game for the Lakers’ big man.

Defense Wins Championships

The Lakers put on another solid defensive effort in Game 3, limiting the Suns to just 95 points after holding them down to 102 in Game 2. Los Angeles shot just 25% from three-point area and and committed 20 turnovers in the game. Despite that, they won by double digits because defense wins playoff games and championships.

After getting outrebounded in Game 1, the Lakers dominated the boards for the second straight game. On Friday night, the defending champions held a 51-35 edge in rebounding. Big men Davis and Drummond led the way with 11 boards apiece but Kyle Kuzma also grabbed 10 rebounds as he made up for his continued poor shooting with hustle plays and defense.

Los Angeles also had 10 steals while forcing a total of 18 turnovers and scoring 24 points off takeaways. They held the Suns to 42.7% field goal shooting while holding down Devin Booker to just 19 points on 6-19 shooting after the Suns young superstar torched the Lakers for 34 and 31 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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