Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns: X-factors, key matchups, prediction

LeBron James and Chris Paul (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LeBron James and Chris Paul (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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NBA Phoenix Suns Chris Paul and Devin Booker (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Taking a close look at the key components of the upcoming playoff matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.

After struggling through the latter half of the regular season due to injuries to both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the reigning champions have secured their spot in the playoffs with a tight win in a thriller against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

This win leaves the Los Angeles Lakers in the 7th seed and facing against a very strong and determined Phoenix Suns team, who are entering the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season when they were led by Steve Nash.

The Suns won the season series against the Lakers, holding a 2-1 record against the Lakers in their three meetings. However, not once did both James and Davis play together against the Suns this season, with each player only facing the Suns once due to injuries.

Los Angeles will finally get a chance to play their full squad against this Phoenix Suns team, and while they may like their chances, the Suns are no slouch and will be a tough opponent. Phoenix has earned their 51-21 record by being among the best teams in the NBA, led by a star-studded trio of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and their depth.

This matchup is sure to be one of the best of the first round, with a number of key matchups and x-factor players for both teams likely to be the difference between winning and losing.