Regardless of how things go in any contest, the Los Angeles Lakers can always fall back on the fact that Anthony Davis and LeBron James on their team. In this case, it was enough to go back home with a split in the first two games against the Phoenix Suns.
Davis bounced back after a rough Game 1 performance with 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks while James poured in 23 points and nine assists as the Lakers left Phoenix with a 109-102 win. The victory ties this first-round series at 1-1 with the Lakers now taking away home-court advantage.
Davis was much more aggressive from the outset in this contest, immediately getting the Suns’ frontcourt in foul trouble early on. Though there were some times where he settled, his attacking mindset overall led to 21 free throw attempts on the night, making 18.
The Lakers led most of the way and seemed to have things in control through the second and third quarters, leading by as many as 15 points. But the Suns were able to fight back and even take the lead briefly in the fourth quarter thanks in large part to the play of backup point guard Cameron Payne. That is when the Lakers’ superstars took things over, however.
After Dennis Schroder put the Lakers up a point with a pair of free throws, Davis would put them up three with an easy dunk off a Schroder assist. James would then follow up with an excellent fadeaway and Davis knocked down a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to give the Lakers an eight-point lead.
After Devin Booker responded with some free throws of his own, James would hit the dagger 3-pointer to essentially ice the game and silence the Phoenix crowd.
The Lakers as a team were far more aggressive and physical on this night, setting the tone defensively and were on pace to hold the Suns under 100 points for the second straight game had it not been for multiple late foul calls leading to free throws for Booker after the game was decided. They forced 13 Phoenix turnovers and outrebounded them 39-31 including eight on the offensive glass.
Offensively, the Lakers struggled outside of their four main players. In addition to James and Davis, Schroder had his best game since returning from the health and safety protocols with 24 points, three rebounds and three assists. Additionally, Andre Drummond had a double-double in the first half and finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Booker finished with 31 points for the Suns while Ayton was again a problem for the Lakers with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul, however, finished with just six points in 23 minutes and was clearly not himself due to his shoulder issue.
Next up for the Lakers
The series heads back to Los Angeles where the Lakers will host the Suns in Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, with a chance to take a commanding series lead should they hold serve at home.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!