PHOENIX — LeBron James has entered uncharted waters. He has been to the NBA playoffs in 15 of his 18 NBA seasons and has never missed the second round.
That streak is very much in doubt as Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns lead their first-round series against the Lakers 3-2, with Game 6 in Los Angeles on Thursday.
James’ 14-0 record in first-round series is almost beyond comparison in NBA history. Robert Horry and Derek Fisher both played in the first round 16 times; their teams went 16-0 in those series. They are the only players who have enjoyed more first-round success than James.
The Suns, on the other hand, are battling the reigning NBA champions in their first playoff series in more than a decade.
The last time the Suns played in a playoff game was 2010 when Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Channing Frye were three of the biggest faces of the team.
Every player on that roster has since retired, with the exception of Goran Dragic (Miami), Jared Dudley (Lakers), and Robin Lopez (Washington).
While it was one of the biggest concerns heading into this series, the lack of playoff experience for most of the Suns players has not seemed to be a problem at all. DeAndre Ayton has arguably been the Suns best player in several of their games, and Devin Booker showed in Game 5 that he is ready to take over at any time.
Part of that early success has been the playoff buzz and excitement that has taken over Phoenix Suns Arena, which was packed with 16,000 fans for Game 5. The Suns won't have that home-court advantage, however, for Game 6 in LA.
Chris Paul appears as if he is "good to go" Thursday despite suffering another shoulder injury Tuesday, but the prognosis for Lakers forward Anthony Davis is not as clear. He has been listed as a game-time decision after suffering a groin injury in Game 4 against the Suns. Davis sat out Game 5 and watched from the bench as Devin Booker lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter. The Suns never looked back, winning the game by 30 points.
Whether or not AD is able to suit up for the Lakers Thursday will play a major impact on the game, but if the Suns are able to carry their momentum over from Game 5, you may see the Suns heading back to Phoenix to celebrate the series win instead of getting ready for Game 7.