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Best lineup strategy for Lakers vs. Suns Game 5 NBA Showdown

We take a look at the Showdown contest on DraftKings Game 5 of the Lakers-Suns first round NBA playoff series, giving you Captain’s Picks and who to fade.

Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns celebrate during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers during Round 1, Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.  Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns evened up their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers with a win in Game 4 after Anthony Davis went down with a groin injury. Things could get interesting now both sides have won two games. Can the Suns steal another game from the Lakers without one of their superstars? Let’s go over the best DFS options worth considering at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Captain’s Picks

The time for LeBron James ($17,700) to take over has arrived. James’s usually playoff ascension hasn’t happened yet this year. He’s averaging all-time postseason lows in points (21.8) and rebounds (7.3) per game. James’s playmaking has been solid, but he’ll need to be a lot more aggressive on offense to replace Davis’s scoring. Davis was averaging a team-high 27 points through three playoff outings before scoring just 6 points in 19 minutes ahead in Game 4, ahead of his groin injury. James is averaging 24.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game without Davis this season. Los Angeles’s shortened playoff rotation could demand more from the superstar.

Deandre Ayton ($13,500) has continued to live up to the expectations of a former No. 1 pick. The Suns big man has rattled off four straight double-doubles and will get to go for a fifth without the Lakers’ best rim protector in the picture. It’s unclear who the Lakers will start in the frontcourt alongside Andre Drummond, but whoever the replacement is will definitely be a major downgrade. It’s hard to argue against rolling with Ayton when he’s averaging 41.25 DKFP per game in the playoffs.

FLEX Plays

James will have to pick up the slack for Davis, but Dennis Schroder ($7,400) is the Lakers’ second-best scorer by a wide margin. He was barely under 20 points per game before Game 4 and is the only Laker aside from James that’s averaging more than eight points per game. Points will be hard to come by in this battle between defensive heavyweights, so quite a few optimal lineups should include James and Schroder.

A couple of other Lakers could be affected drastically by Davis’s absence. Kyle Kuzma ($5,400) and Marc Gasol ($4,000) are two players who are most likely to finish third in DKFP for the Lakers. Kuzma averaged nearly 20 points per game without Davis playing last year and is almost certain to play 30 minutes or more because of Los Angeles’s limited power forward depth. Gasol has worked his way back into the rotation and will be needed to make up for Drummond’s defensive lapses. His ability to stretch the floor with shooting will open up the floor for the Lakers, and he scored 35.5DKFP in just 23 minutes in Game 4.

Fades

Nearly half of all Showdown lineups rostered Wesley Matthews ($1,400) when he started for Kentavious Caldwell Pope ($4,200) (knee) but didn’t return much value. He only scored 11 DKFP in 25 minutes. KCP could return to the lineup on Tuesday, and that would decrease Matthews’ value significantly.

The Outcome

Both defenses in this series have been elite. However, Los Angeles is missing its top scorer and most impactful defender. Phoenix has its own question marks, but none are as glaring as the Lakers’. Home court advantage should help the second-seeded Suns take the lead in the series.

Final score: Suns win 110-103