The Los Angeles Lakers were winless on the road entering the final leg of their four-game trip against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
It was also the first game the Lakers would play for the In-Season Tournament, making a win even more crucial.
The Lakers looked like they were on their way to another disappointing road loss, but the team rallied in the fourth quarter to steal a win over the Suns and snap their three-game losing streak. Los Angeles also starts off group play 1-0.
With the starting group struggling, Darvin Ham made the decision to bench Austin Reaves in favor of Cam Reddish. The move was initially met with skepticism and didn’t seem to help much as Los Angeles trailed for most of the game.
However, Reddish was able to repay Ham’s trust in him with his best two-way game of the 2023-24 season. The former lottery pick was a pest defensively as he got his hands in the passing lane several times for deflections and steals, as well as contesting on shots on the perimeter.
Reddish redeemed himself after missing a potential game-winning 3-pointer against the Miami Heat as he knocked down five threes en route to season-high 17 points. He also added three rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes.
LeBron James gave fans a scare when he seemed to hurt his left leg on a drive and got looked at on the bench. Fortunately, he was able to return to the game and had a vintage night driving the basketball and finishing through contact.
James looked like a man on the mission as he was aggressive looking for his shots and kept Los Angeles from ever getting too far behind. The 38-year-old led the team in scoring with 32 points to go along with 11 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.
Reaves may have demoted to the bench, but he had an impact on the game as he scored 15 points and was closed the game out with the other starters.
Rui Hachimura was the difference-maker for the purple and gold as his fourth quarter energy and scoring helped them turn the tide. Hachimura had seven points, three rebounds, one assists and four steals in just 20 minutes.
What’s next for Lakers
The Lakers finally return home and will play the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. They then have their second group stage game on Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
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