Lakers Officially Eliminated From Play-In Tournament Contention With Loss To Suns
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers took the court on Tuesday night needing a win on the road against the Phoenix Suns to keep their season alive. With the San Antonio Spurs beating the Denver Nuggets earlier in the night, a loss meant the Lakers would officially be eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention.

Unfortunately, the Lakers were for to play without LeBron James once again due to his ankle injury, and as a result, lost to the Suns in blowout fashion, 121-110. The Lakers now have three meaningless games to play to finish out what has been one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history.

Anthony Davis was active from the jump, cleaning the defensive glass and scoring in the paint to lead the Lakers to an early 12-6 lead. Expectedly, Phoenix’s defense picked up and forced L.A. into tough shots, narrowing the gap to just three in the process.

Head coach Frank Vogel switched up his rotations by turning to an all-bench look that held up well, though Devin Booker seemed to respond after every made basket. Russell Westbrook got involved offensively with his drives to the rim but Phoenix kept pace on the other end to make it a slim Laker 31-28 lead after one.

Austin Reaves was able to convert a tough and-one off a pretty finish at the rim early in the second, but the Suns were able to respond with a couple of tough layups over Davis. JaVale McGee looked energized playing against his former team after scoring a few times in the paint, and a Cam Johnson corner three put Los Angeles down 45-44 after leading for most of the first half.

Westbrook assumed the scoring load by hitting a couple of patented midrange jumpers, though Booker once again answered to keep Phoenix ahead. Westbrook did his best to keep the Purple and Gold hanging around, but the Suns’ end-of-quarter run left them trailing 63-58 at halftime.

It was an even start to the third quarter as both teams traded baskets. However, things quickly changed as the Laker defense had no answer for the Suns as they suddenly found themselves staring down a 19-point deficit.

Davis did his best to chip away, but Phoenix’s play on both ends proved to be too much as they grew their lead to 24. Austin Reaves provided some much-needed energy on the offensive end, but the Lakers went into the fourth quarter trailing 98-80.

Davis was clearly laboring as he lacked his usual lift and explosion, though he continued to tough it out on the floor. Without much success on either end, the Lakers took home yet another loss to the Suns and saw their playoff hopes erased.

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