Anthony Davis is confident the Los Angeles Lakers will again get strong fan support at Staples Center when their Western Conference first-round series resumes Sunday despite the challenge posed by the 12:30 p.m. start.
“Some might need a little sleep — it’s not the normal routine — I know they’re going to come in full effect and give us the energy that we need,” Davis said after Thursday’s 109-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns that gave the Lakers a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series
In the team’s first playoff game at Staples Center since April 28, 2013, “we fed off the crowd, especially during our runs,” Davis said. “The crowd was loud and gave us some extra energy to make shots and make some big plays defensively and ultimately win the game.”
Davis scored 18 of his game-high 34 points in the third quarter as the Lakers outscored the Suns 33-23 in front of a crowd announced at 7,825, their largest at Staples Center this season. The previous high was 6,022 May 19 for their 103-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game.
Fans were barred from attending the Lakers’ first 27 home games at Staples Center this season because of coronavirus-related restrictions, which continue to limit attendance to less than half of the arena’s customary capacity of 18,997 for Laker games.
“We’re really yearning for full capacity or close to full capacity,” coach Frank Vogel said.
The first two games of the series were played at Phoenix Suns Arena in front of sellout crowds of 11,919.
Davis pulled down a game-high equaling 11 rebounds for his 11th career playoff game with more than 30 points and more than 10 rebounds. LeBron James added 21 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Guard Dennis Schroder was the other Laker in double figures with 20.
Center Deandre Ayton led four Suns in double figures with 22.
The Lakers led 43-40 at halftime, scored the first six points of the second half and went on a 7-0 run late in the third quarter for a 76-61 lead.
Phoenix scored the first five points of the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 76-68 with 11 minutes, 21 seconds to play. The Lakers responded by outscoring the Suns 15-2 to take a 91-70 lead with 7:32 left. Wesley Matthews made back-to-back 3-point baskets during the run followed by a 3-point basket by fellow reserve Marc Gasol.