The Los Angeles Lakers were able to keep their modest winning streak alive as they handled the Phoenix Suns in a 117-107 win and moved to 27-7 during the 2019-20 NBA season.
The Lakers started the game off on fire as they hit on their first eleven shots and built a quick double-digit lead they held for nearly the entire night. However, a frigid start to the fourth quarter allowed Phoenix to claw back into the game, getting it down to single digits before Los Angeles finally put it away late.
LeBron James led the way with a triple-double (31 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists) while Anthony Davis had a double-double (26 points, 11 rebounds), but the two were forced back into action after the bench allowed a quick Suns spurt in the final period.
Davis discussed the team’s need to close games out when they are playing with a lead.
“We gotta learn how to handle success within games. We were up big and we know teams are always going to fight back, but we gotta continue to play the right way no matter what the score is. And I think that’s the biggest lesson,” Davis said.
“That’s kind of been our M.O… Coming out of halftime with big leads and teams cutting into our leads in the second half. We have to continue to build those leads or maintain the lead and not give it up so quickly.”
It has been a troubling habit all season long as the Lakers have had no issues on most nights building a sizable lead, but have had problems defending those advantages for all four quarters. Teams have routinely been able to go on big enough runs to turn matchups into nail-biters when they originally looked like they had no business being within striking distance with how well Los Angeles looked like they were playing.
A talented team like the Lakers should not have to overextend their two All-Star players to pull out certain games, but head coach Frank Vogel had no choice but to against the Suns as the bench could not maintain what was a 22-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Any time James sits, there is a noticeable dip in offensive production and could be a fatal flaw come playoff time if the roster is not addressed either through trade or the buyout market.
Regardless, a win is a win and the purple and gold did just enough to earn it. Hopefully, they have a better showing against the New Orleans Pelicans next.