After picking up their second win of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers hit the road to try and keep up the momentum in Phoenix against the Suns. After playing 37 minutes in the win, Kobe Bryant would rest on the second leg of the back-to-back marking the third game he has sat out so far this season. Metta World Peace would start in his place.
With Bryant out, the pressure would shift to the Lakers young guns to pick up the slack. The backcourt of Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell had a big challenge on their hands as Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight have combined to make one of the more explosive backcourts in the NBA.
The Lakers would also look to keep up the recent defensive effort they had displayed, holding teams to around 94 points over the last four contests. The Lakers came into the game with a 2-7 record while Phoenix stood at 5-4.
Roy Hibbert got the Lakers on the board with a jump hook down low, but Brandon Knight quickly responded with a three for the Suns. Metta World Peace started off quickly with back-to-back baskets and Hibbert added a long jumper as the Lakers lead 9-5. Knight hit another three for Phoenix, but the Lakers World Peace kept up his strong start with a layup and three-pointer as the Lakers lead 16-11. The Lakers got themselves in foul trouble early and Phoenix found themselves in the bonus with five minutes left in the quarter and cut the Lakers lead to one. Clarkson quickly gave the Lakers a bit of a cushion with back-to-back baskets as LA lead 20-15. Some bad Lakers decisions allowed Phoenix to get back within a point at 22-21 after two dunks from Alex Len. Some offensive rebounding issues began to rear their heads again as the Suns got multiple chances down the stretch. Mirza Teletovic hit a three and the Suns converted a couple of free throws as they lead 26-22 at the end of the first.
Both teams started the quarter sloppily with turnovers on both ends. Lou Williams missed a wide open layup and let Goodwin drive right by him for the first basket of the quarter. The Lakers got back into it, however, with a floater from Marcelo Huertas and a steal and dunk from Brandon Bass. The teams traded baskets as Phoenix remained ahead 32-30. Knight turned Huertas inside-out before hitting a three, but a layup from Young and a three-point play from Williams tied the game at 35. Williams continued his solid outing with a short jumper and a three, but Lakers turnovers allowed Phoenix to remain ahead by a point. A pair of free throws and a bank shot from Young gave the Lakers a brief lead, but PJ Tucker hit a three to tie the game. Tucker continued to hurt the Lakers as he gave the Suns a four-point lead after an offensive rebound and layup. Bledsoe hit a jumper to cap a 9-0 Suns run before a Hibbert turnaround and midrange jumper calmed the storm. A pair of Clarkson free throws tied the game with under two minutes remaining, but four straight points from Bledsoe ended the half as Phoenix remained ahead by four, 57-53.
Phoenix started quickly in the second half as Bledsoe and Knight each got layups to give Phoenix their biggest lead of the night at eight points. Clarkson hit a three to get the Lakers on the board and got free for a layup, but the Lakers still trailed by six. Both teams traded baskets, but Phoenix remained ahead by eight after a jumper from Bledsoe. Neither team was sharp midway through the quarter as turnovers and bad shots were prevalent on both ends. Randle got his first field goal on a tip-in and Russell followed with his first bucket, a three. Hibbert hit a hook shot as the Lakers closed within four, 73-69. World Peace hit a free throw to make it a one possession game, but a deep three from Bledsoe put Phoenix right back ahead by six. Williams checked in and immediately converted a three-point play to cut the lead in half. Clarkson hit a pair of free throws but TJ Warren hit a jumper to end the quarter as the Lakers trailed by five, 80-75.
Warren started the fourth the same way he ended the third, with a jumper, but Williams hit a three on the other end to keep the Lakers within four. That wouldn’t last as the Suns went on a 7-0 run capped by a steal and dunk from Warren to give them an 11 point lead. Huertas hit a three coming out of a timeout, but Williams had an ugly turnover as Phoenix remained ahead by 10. The Suns pushed the lead out to 15 as things began to get out of hand for the Lakers. Young hit a three, but Phoenix quickly responded with a three-point play of their own. The starters checked in and Russell was much more aggressive, finding Clarkson for an open three, but the Lakers remained down by 12 with four minutes left. A huge block on Randle by Len led to an alley-oop from Bledsoe to Warren to put the icing on the cake of a dominant fourth quarter for the Suns. The Lakers emptied the bench with two minutes remaining as Anthony Brown and Tarik Black got some garbage time minutes. Russell got a couple baskets down the stretch, but the Lakers fell 120-101 to Phoenix.