Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: LeBron James and Anthony Davis help Lakers pull away and then hold on for Game 3 win

Big games from the Lakers All-Stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis powered the team to a 109-95 victory in Game 3 victory, the franchise's first playoff win at Staples Center since 2012.

After stealing home-court advantage in Game 2 in Phoenix, the defending champions strengthen their hold on the series by winning this pivotal Game 3.

For the second straight game, coming off the 13-point Game 1, Davis dominated with a 30-piece as he finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds while James put up 21 points and nine assists.

Meanwhile, for the Suns, Deandre Ayton led the way with his 22 points and 11 rebounds on 11-of-15 shooting and was supported by Cameron Payne's 15 points, all of which came in the second half, and six assists.

Before we look ahead to a pivotal Game 4, here are the biggest takeaways from Game 3:

Key 3rd quarter

After a back-and-forth first half, which saw all of the game's nine lead changes and eight ties, the Lakers pulled away with a big third quarter.

Outscoring the Suns 33-23 in the third period, powered by the All-Star duo of James and AD, the defending champions separated themselves and then never gave away control of the game.

Of the five other Lakers points, three came from Dennis Schroder on an AND-1 play and the other was a reverse layup by Andre Drummond off the assist from James.

Rough games for the Suns' All-Stars

Ever since suffering that shoulder injury in Game 1, Chris Paul has been playing limited minutes and thus, has had limited impact.

Coming off a 23-minute Game 2, the 11-time All-Star played 27 minutes to finish with seven points, six assists and five rebounds but recorded a game-low plus-minus of -20.

The problems compounded for Phoenix when their other All-Star had an off-game. Coming off consecutive 30-point games, Devin Booker fouled out of this one with only 19 in this one on 6-of-19 shooting from the field.

Late in the game, as the Suns comeback rally was falling short, the frustration probably showed as Booker got ejected.

Lakers dominate with paint play and defence

Despite James missing 27 games and Anthony Davis missing 36, the Lakers had the league's best defence, something they used to create separation in this game.

Over the middle two quarters, they held the Suns to just 35 points on 13-of-41 shooting from the field and 3-of-12 from 3-point range.

That's not all, they complimented this defence with their paint play.

Los Angeles outrebounded Phoenix 51-35, including 15-8 on the offensive glass, while outscoring their opponents in the paint by 20 (58-38).

What's next?

Both teams will have a couple of days off before a pivotal Game 4, which tips-off at 1:00 a.m IST on Monday, May 31.

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