Champs in Trouble

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Suns Stun Short-Handed Lakers in Wild Night of NBA Playoffs Basketball

The Phoenix Suns took complete advantage in what really was a must-win game.

Going up against the depleted defending NBA champions, the Suns had the chance to push the Lakers to the brink of elimination in the absence of their superstar big man Anthony Davis.

The Suns did not mess around on Tuesday night, completely dismantling the Lakers by a score of 115-85. Devin Booker led all scores with 30 points while Cameron Payne came up clutch off the bench adding 16 points of his own as the Lakers were unable to find LeBron James any sort of help.

“We got our ass kicked. It’s that simple,” James said, who left the team’s bench mid-way through the fourth quarter of a blow out loss. “We have to be better if we want to force a Game 7. They pretty much just kicked our ass. There’s nothing else to say.”

With Game 6 coming up, there is still a level of uncertainty surrounding Davis’ injury. At this point, James believes that the Lakers will be required to operate as if Davis will be sitting out.

“My mindset is that he’s not going to be able to play in Game 6, but that’s just my mindset,” said James, who scored 24 points and dished out seven assists in the loss. “If something changes, we go from there. It’s literally win or go home… So you shoot all the bullets you got and throw the gun too. I look forward to the environment.”

The Suns have a chance to do something incredibly special in Game 6, but closing out The King is no simple feat.

Over on the east coast, the Brooklyn Nets took care of business once again.

Going up against an injury riddled Boston Celtics team, the Nets had no problem closing out the series in five games, advancing to the second round where they will face the Milwaukee Bucks. James Harden was unstoppable on Tuesday night, scoring 34 points while grabbing 10 boards and collecting 10 assists. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were stellar as well, combining for 49 points in the victory.

In the win, Harden became only the second Nets player to ever pick up a triple-double in a playoff game with Jason Kidd accomplishing the feat 10 separate times.

“J-Kidd is one of them ones. He’s one of the elite point guards that this league has ever seen obviously with his playmaking ability,” Harden said following the game. “He’s a big guard. He just did so many things at the time in New Jersey that us young guys looked at. So shoutout to J-Kidd.

“I just came here to make an impact on the game, whether it’s scoring, whether it’s rebounding, whether it’s my ability to pass the basketball, whatever the case may be. Every game is a little bit different, but I just take what the defense gives me and I play basketball. I try to play basketball the right way each possession.”

Wrapping up the night was a double-overtime thriller as MVP favorite Nikola Jokic willed his Denver Nuggets team to an incredible 147-140 victory.

Despite a jaw-dropping 55 points and 10 assist performance from Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers are now a loss away from being sent home, losing three of their last four games to the Jamal Murray-less Nuggets. Jokic led the way for the Nuggets with 38 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, while Monte Morris and Michael Porter Jr. combined for 54 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists in the pivotal Game 5 win.

“That’s what playoff basketball is,” Porter said.

The Nuggets will now have the opportunity to close out the Blazers in Game 6 on Portland’s home floor.

As we move onto Wednesday night, we have a plethora of pivotal games on the schedule as three teams may end up going home when all is said and done.

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