The matchup is set for the first round of the NBA playoffs: the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Phoenix Suns in a seven-game series that starts on Sunday.
After the Lakers overcame a sluggish start to beat the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game on Thursday, the official Suns account sent out a tweet to the Lakers, writing simply: “Sup Lakers.”
That fairly innocent tweet, for some reason, was deleted
Suns reserve guard Abdel Nader also had a tweet that showed Phoenix players looking up the scorboard during a game, an obvious reference to the team having their eyes on the play-in matchup. That innocuous tweet was also deleted.
It looks like the higher-ups in Phoenix are going with a “don’t poke the bear” approach, not wanting to give the hungry Lakers any extra bulletin board material.
Suns Learned Lesson on Lakers in Regular Season
The Suns took two of three regular-season games against the Lakers but were on the losing end of their most recent matchup, 123-110. That came without LeBron James in the lineup and was a coming out party for Anthony Davis, who scored 42 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his best game since returning from injury.
Suns coach Monty Williams saw the strong, focused performance from the Lakers as a message.
“We have to understand that teams are sending a message this time of the year. We played playoff teams,” he said. “We played a team we might see in the first round, and I felt like they were sending us a message tonight. And I think our guys heard it loud and clear.”
Suns veteran guard Chris Paul also delivered a thoughful statement when asked about the possibility of facing the Lakers in the first round.
“I’ve been in the West my whole career,” Paul said. “West ain’t never been easy. I don’t care who you playing, or what series it is, or what game it is. When I played in New Orleans I was in a division with Memphis, Houston with Yao and T-Mac, and Dallas when they were nice with Dirk and Stackhouse and all them. The West has always been a beast. When you try to match up with someone else, you can get it handed it you. You can’t duck nobody if you really think that you can win it all. You got it go through it.”
The Lakers Are the Favorite for Series With Suns
The Lakers might be the No. 7 seed, but that’s only a number. The odds have the defending champs as -220 favorites to win the series against the No. 2 seeded Suns.
The Lakers are seeking to become the lowest seed to ever win an NBA title, although they’re not looking at it that way.
“At the end of the day, we just need to be playing our best basketball. Wherever we fell is where we fell in the standings,” Lakers veteran Wes Matthews said. “But we have a job to do every single night. We don’t view ourselves as a seventh seed.”
The Lakers were banged up this season with Davis and James both missing signifcant time. However, the the team is embracing the journey and the tougher road they are on now.
“It just makes it all worth it in the end,” Davis said. “This is going to be a challenge. We accept the challenge, and we embrace it. It’s going to be a fun one. And the more we embrace it and accept that we’re in this position, the easier it will be for us.”
The first game of the series between the Suns and Lakers tips off on Sunday.
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